A DOG and its owner were saved in a midnight drama which forced rescuers to split their resources.

The drama began when a ten-year-old terrier called Zac went missing and was eventually spotted on a ledge about 30ft below the top of a cliff at Barton on Sea.

His owner was searching for Zac when he became stranded on the shoreline near the base of the cliffs.

He and the dog were saved in a joint rescue operation carried out in freezing conditions by coastguards and members of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Zac was trapped near the Cliff House Restaurant.

One of those involved was animal rescue expert Jim Green who said the local terrain, which included dense vegetation, meant Zac could saved only from above.

A member of the rescue team abseiled down the cliff, put a lead on the dog and placed him in a large red recovery bag.

A few seconds later he was winched to the top, none the worse for his ordeal.

In a separate incident his owner was rescued from the shoreline Chewton Bunny. He was reported to be cold but otherwise all right.

The incident happened in the early hours of Boxing Day.

Coastguard rescue teams from Lymington and Southbourne were alerted the National Maritime Operations Centre at 12.30am.

A Southbourne Coastguard Rescue Team spokesman said: "Once on scene it became clear that the owner was at the base of the cliff near mudflats and the shoreline.

"A cliff rescue technician was deployed to rescue thre dog whiole a team relocated to Chewton Bunny to locate the owner.

"It was fortunately that it was not high tide and the dog owmerr had done the sensible tjhing and not tried to go across the mudfl;ats.

"We then renunitedther dog with its very gratefil owmner."