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Emergency services in Essex are warning parents not to let their children play near water at night after four 12-year-olds got stuck in the mud as the tide was rising.

Fire crews, police, paramedics and the coastguard were called to Wrabness, near Manningtree, at 7.15pm yesterday to rescue three girls and a boy.

One of the girls had phoned 999 half an hour earlier to report they were lost on the beach and were concerned about the rising tide.

The girl who phoned 999 has been praised by police Credit: Holbrook Coastguard Team

Two were rescued by police officers, but the other two had to be lifted out of the mud by helicopter.

In total, it took almost three hours to get all of the children to safety. All four were left in the care of the Ambulance Service.

"We’d urge you to avoid playing in or near any water at night, even if the tide is out. The associated dangers can happen quickly and without warning.”

Station Manager Quentin Sage, Essex Fire and Rescue Service
The Coastguard helicopter winched two of the children to safety Credit: Holbrook Coastguard Team

Essex Police have praised the actions of the girl who phoned them.

A statement released by the force said: "The girl who called us was calm and composed and this led to the children being located swiftly in spite of their isolated location."