Coastguards in Devon successfully rescued a spaniel that had jumped over the harbour wall and plunged over 20ft into the sea.

Sydney, a four-year-old, liver and white Springer Spaniel and his owner John Savage from Grays in Essex, were visiting relatives in Brixham, Devon, when true to his breed, the energetic spaniel sprang over the 3ft harbour wall and landed in the sea below.

Sydney managed to paddle to a small cluster of rocks just above sea level, but the incoming tide threatened to engulf him.

The terrified pet was stranded until a three-man life crew arrived to rescue him.

Confused by his ordeal, Sydney was eventually rescued and taken back to shore.

“I was really worried we would lose him,” owner John Savage told the Daily Express. “Sydney is a good swimmer, but there was no where to swim to. I thought there was a chance he would swim off into sea and never been seen again.

“The water was so deep and there was no way we could reach him. It was lucky the lifeboat came along when it did otherwise Syd could have been a goner.”

A spokesperson for the coastguard said: “Luckily a volunteer crew had just started their routine patrol and were able to react quickly.”

“We normally rescue about eight dogs a year from around the harbour wall area, but we have had two in the last few days which is unusual.”