Three people were rescued after getting stranded at the bottom of cliffs by the incoming tide.
The group were spotted by a fisherman at around 6.20pm yesterday (Thursday) at the bottom of 60ft cliffs at Old Hartley, near Seaton Sluice.
Crews from Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (TVLB) and Blyth Coastguard rescue team were called to the scene.
They quickly set up a rope rescue, with one crewman being lowered down the cliffs to help the female and two males.
Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat stood by during the rescue in case they were needed, helping to provide additional lighting at the base of the cliffs.
TVLB Captain Peter Little said: “In blustery conditions, the rescue was completed with great skill and professionalism, and the three individuals were extremely fortunate to have been spotted by a fisherman after embarking on a very dangerous walk at high tide in the dark.
“Although not in immediate danger from the tide, the female and two males were in an exposed position and would have been waiting in the cold and dark for at least two hours before they could have walked to safety.
“Brigade Section Leader Louis Wallace was then prepared as the Brigade’s Rope Rescue Technician and was carefully lowered down the cliff.
“After issuing the two males with lifejackets and helmets for protection, he then brought the female up the cliff, with the help of his colleagues on the cliff top, before repeating the process twice to rescue the two men.
“The rescue was completed in an around an hour with great skill and team work by the Brigade and Blyth Coastguard.
“Once on the cliff top, all three casualties were assessed by Brigade medics and were advised to attend hospital for a check up; however, they declined and were instead given a lift to their car before leaving the area.”
He warned others to take more care along the coastline, especially during the darker evenings.
Mr Lilley added: “During the assessments, it was established that the group had acted in a rather irresponsible manner and had been very fortunate not to end up in extreme difficulty.
“After arriving in Whitley Bay, they had visited St Mary’s Island before starting to walk along the cliff bottom on their way to Hartley Bay.
“After stopping for a barbeque and with two of the group consuming large amounts of alcohol, the friends had continued to walk north in darkness but had been caught out by the incoming tide.
“Before reaching the rock at Hartley Bay, at least two of the group had entered the water and had nearly been washed out into the sea.
“The group were extremely fortunate that the fisherman spotted them and stopped them getting into any further difficulty before dialling 999 and speaking with the Coastguard.”