FOUR lifeguards were forced to go into rough seas after a couple who had spent the morning drinking neat vodka before going swimming.

Brighton lifesaver Tom Jones, 24, braved eight-foot waves breaking on Brighton beach near the pier as he swam out to rescue the man and woman who were in danger of being swept against a concrete groyne.

Chris Ingall, seafront officer with Brighton and Hove city council called the behaviour of the couple in their late 20s “selfish, ignorant and arrogant” and warned that they had endangered their own lives and the lives of rescuers.

It follows a recent incident where fully-dressed girls looking for Pokemon at the water’s edge caused the coastguard to be called.

Ahead of Pride this weekend, the council warned residents and visitors to treat the sea with respect and to avoid it completely after drinking.

Lifeguards were summoned to Brighton beach approximately 75m west of the pier following reports of a man and a woman in trouble in the water, at 1.30pm yesterday.

Red flags were flying, the tide was high and the sea was swollen from the previous night’s storms and high winds.

The couple had entered the water in line with the carousel, in an area not guarded by lifeguards, and had quickly been swept towards the pier and the dangerous underwater concrete groynes.

Chris Ingall said that when the lifeguard arrived, they were "very distressed, struggling to stay afloat and being swept towards the big concrete groyne.”

He described that section of coastline the most hazardous part of the seafront, and explained that at high tides, waves as high as six or eight feet break hard on the steep shingle shore every four to five seconds, making escape from the water extremely difficult once swimmers are in the sea.

“They just crash and smash you into the shingle and you can’t get out,” he said.

A four man team consisting of Tom Jones, 24, Ed Sanson, Henry Thornton, 18, and Ian Walker, 55, rescued the swimmers, with Jones making the full 20m swim out to where the man was in extreme danger.

Mr Ingall said: “They got them out with skill, strength and talent, and then the man was given airway management and oxygen therapy on the shore.”

The couple told rescuers they had been drinking vodka and rum at a friend’s house that morning.

He said: “They were selfish, ignorant and arrogant. they could easily have died or caused the deaths of others. They showed a lack of respect for the lives of lifeguards and other members of the public who might have tried to help.

“Never underestimate the sea, and listen to advice from lifeguards, “ he added.

The woman was treated for shock at the scene, while the man received oxygen treatment and was taken by South East Coast Ambulance Service to Royal Sussex County hospital over concerns he may have swallowed seawater.