FIRE crews took part in a rescue operation to help stranded dolphins which were stuck in mud.

A South Woodham Ferrers crew and the Chelmsford Animal Rescue Unit were among four teams which attended the incident in Stanford-le-Hope.

The two dolphins became stuck 200 metres from the shore on Monday afternoon.

Crews worked with the coastguard and RNLI, using a hovercraft to reach the dolphins.

Firefighters managed to release the dolphins and used an inflatable sled to help move them back out to sea.

Both animals were unharmed.

Water incident manager Al Green said: “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 the coastguard and 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 OK and back in the open water.”