COASTGUARD and lifeboat teams were called out on Sunday morning due to concerns over an inflatable unicorn in the sea.

The crews were contacted shortly before 10am after members of the public saw the toy drifting off to sea across the bay from Southbourne towards Boscombe.

It was unknown if people were onboard, so HM Coastguard tasked RNLI Mudeford to investigate.

The unicorn was picked up just east of Boscombe Pier although no one could be found in any difficulty.

The lifeboat crew swept close inshore on the way back to Southbourne to check no one was in the water requiring assistance.

Southbourne Coastguard carried out a search of the shoreline to trace the owners and confirm everyone was safe.

A spokesperson for Southbourne Coastguard said: "With an extensive search of the area carried out and satisfied that there were no persons in difficulties and the owners possibly too embarrassed to make themselves known, to us we stood down leaving the lifeboat to return to station with the inflatable toy, which turned out to be a giant white unicorn."