The coastguard has issued an urgent warning against entering the sea at one of Cornwall's most notoriously dangerous beaches after people were spotted in the water.

Loe Bar Beach, between Porthleven and Helston, is well known for being treacherous, with a number of people dying there over the years due to the strong current combined with powerful waves and the steep, heavy shingle bank creating a strong drag back.

As a result there are large red warning signs at the entrance to the beach, telling people not to swim at any time - and it is even advised not to paddle.

However, yesterday the coastal safety division of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for this part of Cornwall was forced to put out another warning, after reports that people had been swimming in the sea there recently.

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The team said: "Even the most competent swimmer might get into difficulty swimming off this beach.

"Do not go into the water along this section of beach. Read the warning signs that are clearly visible.

"Loe Bar near Porthleven has a well earned reputation for being remote and treacherous and sadly, over the years several lives have been lost.

"In addition to this Loe Bar is also understandably without a lifeguard, therefore putting yourself and others at immense risk.

"The combination of powerful waves, a steep slippery shingle bank and vicious currents make it a very dangerous stretch of beach.

"However, if you take care and are sensible you can enjoy the beautiful scenery from a safe distance away from the water."

They added that anyone who saw someone doing something they felt was dangerous near the coast or sea should call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Such are the dangers of the beach that a legend has developed over the years that the waters of Loe Bar and Loe Pool claim a victim every seven years.

The beach, or 'bar', is a half-mile shingle bank that separates Loe Pool, the largest natural fresh water lake in Cornwall, from the sea.

Loe Bar was originally the mouth of the River Cober, which led to a harbour in Helston. However, by the 13th century the bar had cut Helston off from the sea and formed the pool.