A man used his mobile phone to save his life when he was trapped in a walk-in fridge.

Myron Eells, 18, was wearing only a thin T-shirt when he got locked into the fridge at the Highdown Hotel and Restaurant in Littlehampton Road, Worthing.

Mr Eells, who started his kitchen porter job at the restaurant a week ago, went in to get some supplies and the door slammed shut behind him.

Mr Eells said: "I saw the shadow of the door going to close and I jumped to try and stop it but was too late.

"I immediately panicked."

Mr Eells forced himself to calm down then tried to open the door.

But to his dismay, he discovered a loose connection on the latch meant he could not get it open and he was locked in the cold store, with its 5C temperature.

Mr Eells banged on the door and shouted for help but no one could hear his cries behind the heavy industrial door.

Mr Eells, of Sapphire Road, Durrington, said: "All I could hear was the echo of my own voice."

The kitchen porter had his mobile phone on him but when he tried to call restaurant manager Andy Burkiss he discovered he had no credit.

He said: "I was getting pretty cold by then. My hands had started to go numb."

Crucially for Mr Eells, to call 999 is free. He made a desperate call to the fire service and was quickly released. A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: "The man was getting colder and colder as he was speaking to us.

"It is a very good job he had his phone on him at the time."

Mr Eells said: "If I hadn't had my phone I don't know what would have happened.

"I would have been in there a pretty long time."

The emergency services call operator stayed on the phone to keep Mr Eells calm while restaurant staff were contacted to alert them to what had happened.

By the time Mr Eells was freed he had been in the fridge for more than 20 minutes.

He said: "The ambulance lady said my hands had gone white. I was covered in firemen's coats and blasted with hot air.

A fire crew from East Preston stayed with Mr Eells to make sure he was not suffering from hypothermia.

He was back at work the following day suffering no ill effects.

Mr Eells said: "I'm making sure I put something down to hold the door open whenever I go in the fridge now."

Restaurant manager Andy Burkiss, 44, said the faulty latch was being replaced.

He said: "No one has ever walked in and shut the door before.

"There is a hook you can use to make sure but it normally stays open on its own.

"All we can think is that there must have been a sudden gust of wind. The latch is loose and means you can't open the door from the inside.

"We have people coming out to repair it and will be telling everyone to be very careful until then."