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Dog Walker Who Was Swept Out To Sea Is Named

A man who was swept into the sea in gale-force winds while walking his dog in Blackpool has been named by police as Paul Morris.

Rescue crews have called off the search for Mr Morris, 41, from South Shore, Blackpool, previously from Barrow in Furness.

Mr Morris was walking his dog in Blackpool with two friends just after midnight on New Year's Day when a wave washed him and one of his friends into the sea.

"His friend has managed to climb out of the water but sadly Paul did not emerge," Lancashire police said in a statement.

After Mr Morris friends raised the alarm, a search was carried out by RNLI and Coastguard crews from Blackpool and Lytham St Annes, and was assisted by the Lancashire Police helicopter and the search and rescue helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey.

Prince William was part of the RAF crew involved in the search, according to Sky sources.

Stuart Atkinson, watch manager at Crosby Coastguard station, said: "We received a call at 12.13am from Lancashire Police reporting that a male was in the water near the South Pier at Blackpool."

"The area was searched and unfortunately we didn't find the 41-year-old male at that time."

Mr Atkinson said the initial search operation was hampered by very strong, westerly gale-force winds.

"We do believe a life ring was thrown to him and a football. We have located the football but not the life ring."

Lancashire Police said it would now wait for the man's body to wash up on the shore.