A safety warning has been issued to Essex beach-goers as high spring tides could leave them cut off.

The RNLI has issued important safety advice for visitors to Southend-on-Sea ahead of this weekend, with fears beach-goers could be cut off on the mudflats by unusually high spring tides.

Visitors are expected to flock to the coast with the sunny weather but the charity, which saves lives at sea, is urging visitors to check tide time tables before they travel and stay alert to changing conditions.

Over the summer, the volunteers have seen a rise in the number of people cut off by the tide.

One day the crew rescued 12 people stranded in the water unable to make it safely back to the beach.

Guy Addington, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for the South East said: "September has always been a popular time for coastal walking, however, with higher than normal spring tides forecast this weekend, areas affected by tidal cut off may be cut off faster than normal, and some areas not normally cut off may be in the coming days.

"Anyone heading to the coast is reminded to ensure they have enough time to return if they decide to venture further onto the beach.

"We have beautiful stretches of coastline all across the region and Southend is a very popular location for daytrippers and locals alike, but we’re asking people to be prepared and help keep themselves safe by checking local tide times this weekend.

2It’s hard to imagine how walking can turn out to be a dangerous activity, but we’ve already seen many times this year at Southend that a pleasant and seemingly safe walk out on the mudflats of the estuary can become a threat to life within minutes. "