EMERGENCY services battled gale-force winds and high seas following a report that a flipper-wearing swimmer had entered the water in Barry’s Old Harbour area.

Volunteer crew with the RNLI Barry Dock lifeboat was launched, and Coastguard teams from Barry and Penarth, police, and a search and rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor were scrambled, after a fisherman raised the alarm around 8.30pm on Saturday.

Lifeboat crew searched the rough seas for around an hour before being stood down by the Coastguard, who were co-ordinating the search.

The Coastguard considered that the swimmer, who was thought to be well equipped, had in all likeliness returned to shore.

They issued an appeal for the swimmer to contact them and let them know that he was safe and well.

Crew, normally on call 24/7, had been managing the station all day and night while dredging of the harbour takes place and the lifeboat needs to be moved for the dredging ship to manoeuvre.

Deputy coxswain Dave Phillips said: “Our recent helicopter exercise reminded us of the key skills we needed to carry out this multi-agency search and rescue operation.”

Watch manager at Swansea Coastguard Steve Matthews said: "We carried out a thorough search of the area tonight, but did not locate this swimmer.

"As this was in a sheltered area of the harbour, it could be that this man got out of the water safe and well.

"Therefore, if anyone has any information about this swimmer, or you yourself went into the water, please give us a call.

Call 01792 366534.