A SEARCH for a missing kayaker has been called off.

HM Coastguard received a report of someone entering the water near Hove Lagoon just after 10am yesterday. An empty kayak and paddle were found on the shore.

The coastguard released a statement at 10.30pm saying it had suspended its search at nightfall.

It said it had confirmed the identity of the kayaker. A spokeswoman told The Argus: “Sadly the kayaker was not found despite a very intensive eight hour search.”

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Newhaven and Shoreham joined the operation as well as the Brighton RNLI lifeboat and a coastguard rescue helicopter.

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Teams searched from Brighton Palace Pier along the coast to Worthing.

Shoreham Lifeboat Operations Manager Peter Huxtable said: “It has been an incredibly long and challenging search for our volunteer crews and all the teams involved.

“The lifeboats, coastguard teams and helicopter have spent hours searching along the coastline and shoreline from Brighton to Worthing. Sadly no was found.”

The Argus:

On Friday, the coastguard dealt with more than 329 incidents across the UK – the highest number of callouts in one day for more than four years.

Helicopters and hovercraft were used to keep people safe.

Julie-Anne Wood, Duty Operations Director for HM Coastguard said: “As the figures show, we’ll always respond when someone calls 999 and asks for the coastguard, we’ll always answer distress on VHF [very high frequency radio] and we’ll always do everything we can to rescue those in need.

“All we ask in return is that you take extra care at the coast – it can be unmerciful to the unwary and even to those who know it well.”

If you have information about the missing kayaker, you can call the coastguard on 02392552100.