Five men died and a sixth person is thought to be missing in another seaside tragedy as Britons basked in the sun on the hottest day of the year.

Beachgoers and emergency services tried to save three of the men after they got into difficulties in the water at Camber Sands near Rye, at around 2.15pm on Wednesday.

Two more bodies were found at around 8pm as the tide receded, and the RNLI and Coastguard were combing the sea and shoreline for another person thought to have been spotted in the sea.

It is not clear how the men got into difficulties but the local council said there had been an increase in people visiting the beach who perhaps were not aware of the dangers of the sea.

Last month 19-year-old Brazilian tourist Gustavo Silva da Cruz also died swimming off the beach.

It has led to warnings about the dangers of the sea, with more incidents anticipated in the coming days with the heatwave set to continue.

Richard Tollett, RNLI lifeboat operations manager at the Rye station, stressed the hidden dangers of rip tides and the cold and said there should be more signage to warm swimmers.

He said: "It looks very calm and very inviting but you need to go very carefully into it and I would not go very far out because it gets very cold.

"It is the sea - not a swimming pool.

"There used to be notices there warning people that sea bathing is dangerous, and it's a pity they are not used any more."

Alan Novis, from Newhaven RNLI, advised swimmers to get advice from beach lifeguards before entering the water.

He said: "There can be rip tides which are visible from the surface but unless you know what to look for they can be difficult to spot.

"It can look very calm but there can be underlying rip tides."

Emergency services were called to the scene at 2.10pm as beachgoers frantically tried to help the first man who had got into difficulty.

While they were helping him, another person was seen in difficultly at 2.20pm and 15 minutes later a third person was also pulled out of the water.

Eyewitness Natalja Taylor, 30, from London, was at Camber Sands with her husband yesterday.

She said: "I believe it was just normal people that pulled the first man out of the water.

"We saw three people being pulled out of the water.

"They [emergency services] had to keep moving them on the beach because of the tide coming in.

"Police were coming around asking everyone whether there were any unattended items as they were trying to work out who the men were."

Six people have been killed in accidents around the coast over the last few days, including Mckayla Bruynius, two, and her father Rudy Bruynius, who were caught by a large wave at Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Friday.