Coastguard helicopters and lifeboats scoured a coastline for nearly four hours in search of a suspected missing kayaker.

The alarm was raised at 1.23pm this afternoon when a red kayak washed up on the beach near to the cafe at Birling Gap.

Lifeboats and a helicopter searched the coastline between Birling Gap and Cuckmere Haven for the kayak’s missing owner until 5.15pm but could find no trace and the search was called off.

It is suspected that the kayak may have been left on a beach and then washed up in the high tide.

Coastguard crew said the call was one of numerous in a busy afternoon which saw many sea goers caught out by strong tides and winds despite the bright sunny afternoon.

A number of boats were also reported to have run aground having been caught out by the conditions.