COASTGUARDS were alerted after an empty dinghy was spotted drifting off Sandbanks in the dark.

Teams from Southbourne and Poole were called by the National Maritime Operations Centre just after 10pm on Thursday. They conducted shoreline search along the beach and North Haven areas.

A Poole lifeboat crew was also called to search the bay in a bid to discover if any people were in trouble. No one was found.

A spokesman for Southbourne Coastguard urged people to mark their water activity equipment with contact information to emergency services can get in touch if it is found.