DANGEROUS high tides caused havoc as north Essex felt the after effects of Storm Ciara.

Coastal towns Mersea and Brightlingsea bore the brunt of the sea’s fury yesterday.

A flood warning was issued for the island on Sunday night warning the spring tides and a coastal surge would bring unusually high waters.

Marshland and coastal paths were particularly affected including the road on to the island, The Strood.

Three vehicles became stuck attempting to pass through deep water triggering a rescue operation.

Essex Police were called to the scene and assisted Essex Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI and the Coastguard in the operation.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “A 999 call was made to HM Coastguard at 11.43am yesterday to report two cars stuck on the Strood Crossing at West Mersea.

“The West Mersea Coastguard Team, the Clacton RNLI and West Mersea RNLI lifeboats and the Search and Rescue helicopter from Lydd were called to assist.

“Two people were rescued and handed over to paramedics.”

The third car was searched but found to be empty.

A spokesman for Essex Police added: “Everyone in the vehicles has been accounted for and we don’t believe anyone has been hurt.”

The fire service deployed a water rescue boat at the scene.

Station manager Danny Partridge, who led the incident, said: “This incident has demonstrated how dangerous it can be to drive into deep water.

“Just a couple of feet of water is enough to float a car, which could mean stalling, a loss of control and mechanical damage.”

“Especially in these difficult weather conditions, it just isn’t worth the risk.

“If the water is any higher than half of your car wheels, you shouldn’t attempt to drive through.”

Emergency services were stood down at 2.15pm once the search concluded however, the road remained closed for about an hour.

Waterside property owners, particularly those in Shears Crescent, Coast Road, Seaview Holiday Park and Waldegraves Holiday Park, West Mersea, were warned to be careful.

Both holiday parks said they suffered no significant effects from the high tides.

However, Trina Valentine, who works at The Black Pearl, in Coast Road, said tides had not risen as high for some years.

She said: “It was pretty full on and the water was touching the doors to the pub.

“There were a few cars floating about in the car park outside.

“It is as high as we have seen it since the coastal surge a few years ago.”

Brightlingsea seafront was also under seige from high tides.

Dozens of beach huts were swept up in the water and were later seen floating down roads near to enveloped cars.