RNLI crews were called out in stormy conditions after a yacht broke down off the Sussex coast.

Crews from Eastbourne and Newhaven were sent out to tow the vessel, stranded off the coast of Hollywell, near Eastbourne, at around 3am yesterday morning.

A crew member was taken aboard the lifeboat and the yacht was taken to Sovereign Harbour Marina in Eastbourne, where the crew could take shelter and investigate the cause of their break down.

The Argus: The yacht was towed to safety in Eastbourne by the RNLIThe yacht was towed to safety in Eastbourne by the RNLI (Image: Eastbourne RNLI)

The mission came as Sussex was struck by thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds, with a “mini tornado” reportedly causing damage to homes in Littlehampton.

RNLI volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service across the UK and Ireland, with more than 238 lifeboat stations and more than 240 lifeguard units.

Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.