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Lifeboat crews called to a report of two people in trouble in the English Channel found a man swimming happily with a playful seal.
Dover Coastguard was alerted after a woman believed she could see one person struggling in the sea and one shouting for help off Cooden beach in Bexhill, East Sussex.
The alert prompted a response from Eastbourne and Hastings inshore RNLI lifeboats at around 8.30am this morning - only for them to find it was a false alarm.
A RNLI spokesman said: "When the volunteer crews arrived on scene it was discovered that the early morning swimmer had found he was swimming with a playful seal and was so thrilled with the experience that he couldn't help but yell out with sheer joy.
"Both lifeboats returned to station, with the incident being logged as a false alarm with good intent.''
A former bus driver from Brighton who sexually assaulted two teenage girls has been jailed for nine years.
Police and family are concerned for the welfare of a Hove man and his two small children who have not been seen since Monday morning (14 August).
The bodies of two men who died when their boat sunk last weekend have been pulled from the sea off Shoreham.
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