A DOLPHIN which appeared to have become trapped by a buoy has been freed by a fisherman, according to officials.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue says it had been observing a dolphin, feared to be Dorset's much-loved Danny the bottlenose, in Swanage.

The organisation said it has received mixed reports about the creature, with some claiming it is entangled and others saying it is not.

One witness said it was "heartbreaking" to have seen the dolphin "swim round and round".

"Sometimes it gets tired and it turns upside down and goes beneath the water, then comes up again to breathe," the witness said.

"It seems to be getting more and more tired and it seems to be thrashing about more. If it stays there much longer it will drown."

Earlier today, a spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it was not known what was impeding the dolphin and that it may not necessarily drown, if it was able to move around.

Volunteers had been helping to monitor the animal this morning but the sea is too rough for divers to get close to the dolphin to check.

However, this afternoon, officials from Swanage Coastguard have urged people not to get into the water - and say the dolphin is free.

A spokesperson from the team said: "This afternoon the team attended the pier after numerous reports of people going into the water to get to the dolphin.

"The dolphin had been reported caught on a mooring line some distance from the pier. 

"The British Divers Marine Life Rescue team had been monitoring the dolphin since this morning but due to the conditions had been unable to reach the dolphin.

"The team provided safety cover and advice to the public due to the rough conditions.

"A local fisherman has managed to get to the mooring and free the dolphin which has been seen to swim off.

"The BDMLR will monitor the area but our request is not to put yourself or others in danger in these conditions."

A friendly dolphin known as Danny is incredibly popular in Dorset and has been a regular feature around Weymouth and Portland Harbour in particular, with locals and visitors sharing sightings of the friendly flipper on social media.

Since last year, numerous videos have appeared online of Danny and he even has his own Facebook page.