EMERGENCY services responded quickly to reports of an upturned kayak on the banks of the River Tavy off Vigo Bridge in Tavistock last Thursday.

Two tenders with firefighters from Tavistock Fire Station responded to the incident while police temporarily blocked off the bridge to the public.

At the scene Tavistock station manager Wayne Rawlings told the Times: 'We are responding to a report of a green, upturned canoe in the river and trying to establish if there is any person involved. We don't think at this stage anybody is involved but our crews are checking here and further down the river just in case.'

A specialist rescue crew from Camel's Head Fire Station, Plymouth was also at the scene.

It was later confirmed that police had a call reporting a missing, green kayak, which had drifted down river.

After the incident Tavistock watch manager Glenn Arundel said that someone from the town's taxi rank had phoned the police about the abandoned kayak and they had called the fire brigade, with the two Tavistock crews at the scene in under five minutes.

'The kayak's owner had fallen off it up river at Peter Tavy and managed to get to safety but the kayak continued to float down river before it got wedged on a bank at Vigo Bridge.

'The river was flowing very fast and we did not want to put any of our crews at risk by going in the water. We also had the specialist rescue crew in attendance along with a specialist advisor.

'We were able to get a line down the riverbank to the kayak and retrieve it using a winch and manpower. We did not want to leave it and have members of the public trying to pull it out, putting themselves at risk.'

The owner, who comes from Plymouth, was later reunited with his kayak.