A RESCUE effort was launched to save two dolphins that became stranded in mud flats.

Firefighters, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the Southend RNLI rushed to the incident at Essex Wildlife Trust Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, Mucking Wharf Road, Stanford-le-Hope at about 1pm yesterday.

A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said: “We were called at midday today by the Essex Wildlife Trust with reports of two harbour porpoises in the mud.

“The dolphins swan off, the water was getting deep which is a good sign.

Essex Fire Service water incident manager Al Green said at the scene: “It’s not every day that you come across dolphins in Essex so we wanted to do everything we could to help them on their way safely.

"Firefighters have gone above and beyond with partners from the Coastguard and the RNLI to do just that this afternoon, despite difficult access and challenging conditions.

"With the tide not expected to come in until several hours after the dolphins became stuck, we knew how important it was that we came to their aid. Thankfully both animals are okay and back in the open water."