BOATERS rallied together to help put out a fire which broke out in a caravan along the river.

Residents at King Edward Quay in the Hythe were woken late on Monday night.

A caravan was partly alight and the fire service was called to extinguish the blaze.

Thankfully no-one was hurt, however, residents say this is the tip of the iceberg having complained about illegally parked cars and caravans at the quay for some time.

The Hythe Boaters posted an appeal on social media.

A spokesman for the group said: “We pulled up on the quay after 11pm and when we got out of the van we could smell burning so went down to investigate.

“On approaching a caravan that was smoking, we could see two men standing there with a car near them with the engine running.

“They said the caravan was on fire but you could hardly see any flames and they said the fire brigade had been called.

“The window was unlocked so a boat owner came out with a fire extinguisher and we all chain ganged water up to it and put it out just as the fire engine arrived.”

The social media post said: “This is a worry for residents down here, we have had thieves on the prowl and now arsonists.

“Luckily we have a strong community looking out for each other. It does, however, highlight unresolved problems being ignored.”

A spokesman from the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “The fire was quickly put out by 12.23am. The cause has been recorded as accidental or deliberate as both are possibilities.”

It is understood the caravan was parked at the quay illegally.

In March, the North Essex Parking Partnership said it would introduce restrictions on the majority of King Edward Quay to combat inappropriate parking.

Mike Lilley (Lab), Hythe councillor responsible for public safety, said councils were taking action.

He said: “We had the issue with the illegally parked cars and caravans and it has lead to an awful lot of complaints from people in that area, so we had to act.

“They wouldn’t move of their own accord so to protect ourselves and the area we wanted to put double yellow lines in.

“They will go in but only along half of the road, the other half near the TS Colne Light ship will be single yellow lines and resident parking only.

“Restrictions will be in place from 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday and weekends will be free for the Hythe car club and the lightship.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council added: “This has recently been raised with us as a concern. It will require the county council, the borough council and other agencies to work together to resolve and we will work to do so as quickly as possible.”