Naked swimmers told off for swimming in the River Thames

The skinny dippers were discovered by RNLI and police while claiming to be 'mermaids'

Skinny dippers found cooling off in the Thames

A pair of naked swimmers who tried to cool off during the heatwave have had to be rescued from the Thames by the RNLI.

They were found swimming near Deptford in the early hours of Thursday morning after the hottest July day on record.

Britain has spent most of this week in the midst of a heatwave with temperatures as high 36.7 degrees being recorded around the capital with the heat only dropping to 27 degrees at midnight.

According to the Evening Standard, the swimmers were found near Borthwick Wharf where they had run away to hide from police in nearby bushes.

The Thames is known for its strong currents and unsanitary conditions in parts, making it a risky place to take a swim.

The pair were heard claiming they were 'mermaids' before being tracked down by the RNLI.

Tower RNLI lifeboat station manager, Kevin Maynard, said: "London may be gripped by a heatwave but swimming in the River Thames is incredibly dangerous and we would strongly advise people not to do so. These two skinny dippers were lucky to escape unhurt as they had put themselves in a potentially life or death situation.

"The River Thames in London has very strong currents that can easily sweep you away. Combine this with the high number of obstacles in the river and swimmers can all too easily find themselves dragged under the water.

"There is also the danger of cold water shock. Despite the hot weather, the river water is still very cold and sudden exposure can cause uncontrollable gasping for air which leads to you gulping down water causing a real risk of drowning.

"If you're suffering from the heat there are better and much safer ways to cool down than putting your life at risk by swimming in the River Thames."

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