AN ABANDONED boat spotted floating down the River Thames on fire has sunk into the water.

Police were first made aware of the flaming craft in the early hours of the morning before specialist water rescue crews attempted to put out the blaze.

Firefighters took the river close to Wokingham Waterside Centre at around 1.30am today but had to retreat after the boat capsized.

No one was injured but Thames Valley Police is investigating the cause of the blaze.

The craft, which was around five or six metres long and appeared to be a pleasure boat, had drifted towards the area behind Thames Valley Park from further upstream.

Firefighter Russ Higgs said: "Police called it in to us after they had discovered it and when we got there it was just adrift, floating down the river and well alight.

"We launched our boat but it was so badly burned that it sank before we could get to it."

A force spokesman said: "At around 1.25am today Thames Valley police officers on a towpath at Cholmeley Road, Reading spotted a fire on a 15ft boat (apparently abandoned)floating down the river.

"Fire service attended and attempted to tow boat to shore but it was so badly damaged that it sank. It is not believed at this stage that anyone was on board at the time."

The scene has since been left in the care of the Environment Agency who are sending a team of investigators.

A spokesman for the group said their first priority would be to secure the craft to ensure the waterway is not blocked.