PEOPLE living in the Southampton area had a rude awakening after a ship's alarm began a continuous blast at around 5.30am.

The infuriating sound, which could be heard on both sides of Southampton Water, is said to have lasted for about 20 minutes on Saturday.

The Southampton-based Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the noise was caused by an electrical problem on board a ship.

According to the MCA an electrical issue caused a blackout on a small tanker, triggering its alarm system.

James Brown, one of the people who took to social media to complain about the noise, said: "What joy - 5.40 on a Sunday morning and either we're under nuclear attack or one of the ships is sinking in the harbour with their horn stuck on."

Mr Brown asked if Associated British Ports or Southampton City Council could provide an explanation, adding: "You must be awake by now, everyone else is."