TWO university students from Southampton had to be rescued this afternoon after getting stuck in mud while fossil hunting.

The 21-year-old male and 20-year-old female raised the alarm at around 12.50pm when they started sinking in the mud at Thorness Beach while searching for fossils.

The female marine biology student and the male geologist had ignored signs clearly warning that the footpath they were on was closed due the possibility of landslides after the recent wet weather.

The mobile Coastguard at Needles were the first team to arrive at the scene at Quarry Ledge and help them get unstuck before the Cowes Lifeboat crew arrived to take them pair and their bikes to the shore, where they were hosed down.

Andrea Vaughan, one of the crew members, said: “Fortunately I was in the station when the girl's call for help came in and when she was describing where she was, I knew their exact location because I live close by.

“Due to the recent bad weather that footpath has become very boggy, almost a toffee-mud effect that just clings to you.

“They were very grateful when we got them back.”