THREE novice sailors nearly fell foul of French coastguards after kayaking across the English Channel in aid of charity.

They had just completed their six-hour voyage when a grey, military-style vessel started heading towards the trio – one of whom had accidentally left his passport behind.

The sailors, all from the New Forest , mingled with a group of fishing boats in a successful attempt to avoid any clash with the authorities.

Stuart Littler, 39, Charlie Brett, 37, and Jon Turner, 38, made the crossing in aid of the charity Action Duchenne.

Stuart’s five-year-old son Ben has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which eventually leaves sufferers confined to a wheelchair.

The sailors hope their 27- mile trip from Dungeness in Kent to Cap Gris Nez in northern France will raise £8,000 in the battle to find a cure.

Stuart and his two friends were escorted by a safety vessel as they crossed some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Their blog says: “We were rightly proud of what we’d achieved and as we jumped out of our kayaks on to the support boat the achievement began to dawn on us.

“Suddenly it got a bit tense.

“One of the (safety boat) crew spotted a French coastguard ship motoring in our direction. He started up the engine and said he was going to ‘potter’ in the other direction, which was just as well because Jon had left his passport in the car in Dungeness.

“We moved into a crowd of fishing boats. The coastguard turned and moved off up the coast, so it worked.”