Moss was reported to have entered the sea at around 11.30am to dive offshore from a landmark war memorial near St Margaret's-at-Cliffe, but failed to return to the boat.

The alarm was raised and five Kent lifeboats were joined by two Coastguard search and rescue helicopters to scour the area until around 9pm, resuming operations the following day.

“We have now stood down the search for the missing diver off the Dover coast,” stated the Coastguard.

Moss was a husband and father of three: “The family are aware and at this time our thoughts are with them. We would like to thank all of the rescue teams who took part in the search effort.

“This is now a missing person incident and for all further enquiries, please contact Kent Police.”

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