A search and rescue mission was launched off the coast of Blackpool after a car was found submerged in the Irish Sea, police said.
The blue Toyota Auris was spotted ‘floating in water’ close to North Pier at around 6.20am after being stolen from a driveway in North Shore overnight.
Blackpool’s two D class lifeboats carried out a ‘thorough and extensive search’ around the pier, and from Red Bank Road in Bispham to Central Pier, while Coastguard staff from Lytham and Fleetwood searched the shoreline along with police.
Paul Parton, from Blackpool RNLI, said: “This morning’s incident was very unusual but our volunteers worked hard alongside colleagues from the police and Coastguard to conduct a very thorough search of the coastline.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said officers traced the car’s owner using its registration details and discovered the vehicle had been stolen during a burglary overnight.
“At this stage we suspect that the car was stolen, abandoned on the beach and later dragged out by the tide,” he added.
The Coastguard, which sent rescue teams from Lytham and Fleetwood, carried out a full search of the car when the tide ebbed at around 11.30am. It was expected to be recovered by the council later.
A spokesman for the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said a ‘night watchman’ called 999 after seeing the car underwater with its lights still on.
Crews from South Shore and Fleetwood responded and geared up to carry out searches but were stood down beforehand.