Police have rescued a cyclist who fell into the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal yesterday.

A man was pulled from the canal in Hardwicke by a police officer after falling in the water during the early hours of Thursday morning.

The 22-year-old had been cycling close to the Pilot Inn when he came off his bike and landed in the canal.

He was believed to have been in the water for around an hour when his calls for help were heard by a nearby resident at around midnight.

Police Sergeant Tom Francis was able to get to the man, who was about 1km along the towpath and holding on to some plants at the edge of the canal.

Tom said: "Unfortunately there weren’t many landmarks, particularly at night, which meant that finding him was particularly difficult. In many respects, I was lucky to take the right direction along the towpath in order to find him.

"Luckily he had been able to hold on to some plants or grass close to the edge of the canal and had not been stranded far out in the open water. The worst part of the rescue itself for me was having to lay in a bed of thistles and nettles in order to reach in and pull him out!"

The man was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital with suspected hypothermia.

Tom, who works in the Force Response Unit, said: "He was very cold when I found him and was unable really to move his arms or legs to help himself from the water.

"This is a good chance to remind people of the dangers of the water and, despite the warm weather, cold and hypothermia can still occur when submerged in the water for any length of time."

“I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues who were swift to back me up and bring equipment to warm the man and help me get him back to ambulance staff who were waiting on the nearest bridge."