A photograph appearing to show a ship 'hovering' above the sea has been captured off the coast of the Lizard Peninsula.

The optical illusion was taken by David Morris, from The Herra at Gillan Cove, not far from St Keverne.

He looked out to sea and saw the oil tanker Maribel apparently hovering in the air, at around 11.15am last Friday.

The Norwegian tanker had been situated in the stretch of water between Gillan and Falmouth. 

There are differing opinions on what has caused the effect, with scientists explaining it as a mirage, but the photographer has another view.

Mr Morris said: "To me it was an optical illusion caused by the still water.

"I have seen similar before, but not as good as this."

BBC meteorologist David Braine has described it on the BBC website as a "superior mirage" that took place of "special atmospheric conditions that bend light".

He said while common in the Artic, the illusion happened only "very rarely" in the UK.

A superior mirage is one in which the image appears to be located above the real object, caused when the air below the line of sight is colder, and therefore denser, than the air above it – the opposite of what normally happens during the daytime. It results in the light rays bending downwards as they pass through the so-called 'temperature inversion'.