Lloret de Mar
Lloret de Mar is a popular destination for British holidaymakersGetty

Two British women have been found dead after a late night swim in stormy seas off a popular Costa Brava resort. Spanish emergency services were alerted shortly after 4am (local time) that the pair, aged 33 and 36, had not returned from swimming off the beach in Lloret de Mar.

Police said the pair were part of a group of five women who went to the beach in the early hours of the morning. Two went for a swim, but when they did not return their friends raised the alarm. A coastguard boat and several helicopters were sent to search for the women and specialist divers dispatched, said Spain's maritime rescue services. Their bodies were found eight hours later, in the sea between Lloret de Mar and Blanes.

"We sent out a rescue boat and scrambled two helicopters to the area to look for the two British women," a spokesman from the Salvamento Marítimo coastal rescue service told local media.

"It was very bad weather, the waves were big and the currents were powerful. We don't know the circumstances of why they decided to go for a swim except that they were with a group of other women who raised the alarm when they failed to come out of the water."

The Foreign Office said: "We can confirm that two British nationals were reported missing in Lloret de Mar on 1 October. We are in touch with the local authorities and… are ready to provide consular assistance to their families."