A TEENAGE boy was taken to hospital after he dived head first into shallow water at Southwick yesterday.

The youngster, believed to be about 14 years old, launched himself off the eastern harbour arm at about 3.15pm.

But the water was only four feet deep and he hit his head.

He was rescued by a surfer who spotted in trouble and paddled him to the shore on his board.

Paramedics feared he could have injured his spine and had a tough job getting him safely off the beach

Three engineers from the port were sent to help.

Tony Parker, director of engineering at Shoreham Port, said his staff cleared the way for the ambulance to get to the breakwater.

He said: "It was quite difficult to get the boy off the beach. He was lying on his back. I think the paramedics were concerned he might have had a spinal fracture."

Mr Parker said the boy had been with a group of other lads on their bikes.

He warned others to take care when entering the water and to take note of the changing tides.

"Obviously we would rather people didn't jump off the harbour arms, but if you are going to jump into the after anywhere along Brighton seafront, for goodness sake check first that the water is deep enough.

"The tide goes in and out and the water might not be as deep as it was last time."