FOUR fishermen had to be smuggled to safety after becoming stranded at the end of Roker Pier.
Rough seas and huge waves crashing on to the pier led to Sunderland City Council closing the gates to the public on Tuesday evening.
But as they started to clear the area, conditions became too dangerous and they were unable to reach the men, who were fishing from the approach to the lighthouse.
The coastguard and the council’s rescue team had to use a 2,880ft tunnel to reach the stranded men.
Coastguard rescue officer Neil Mearns said: “We used the tunnel that runs from underneath the lighthouse at the Roundhead end of the pier to the shore and comes up next to the pier gates.
“The four males, one 15-year-old boy and three adult men, were all safe and well.”
The rescue took place about 5pm on Tuesday, after the coastguard received a report that the anglers were stuck at the seaward end of Roker Pier.
Mr Mearns is now urging members of the public to steer clear of the pier during bad weather conditions.
He also appealed to fishermen to ensure they watch out for changing sea conditions and leave the area before an evacuation is necessary.
Mr Mearns said the anglers were right to stay where they were and wait to be rescued.
Anyone who finds themselves stranded should ring 999 and ask for the coastguard.