People on Poole’s prestigious Sandbanks peninsula were astonished to see this aquatic Bambi swimming ashore and making its way along the harbour beach.

The unusual sight was captured on camera by retired church minister and Poole Harbour Watch chairman David Butcher at the end of a work party at North Haven Yacht Club on Wednesday evening.

Mr Butcher, of Bournemouth, said: “About 20 of us were down there and we had just finished clearing rubbish.

“I was getting ready to go home when somebody shouted and I grabbed the camera.

“It was amazing because it came through the moorings on to the beach, looked at the wall and walked along the beach.

“Nobody had seen anything like it before.”

The deer even survived a close encounter with a dog – fortunately not a deer hound.

“The dog and deer stood staring at one another for probably close to a minute, then the deer walked off towards Sandbanks Hotel.

“It must have come out somewhere along that beach road,” said Mr Butcher.

The sighting comes less than two weeks after passengers on the Sandbanks chain ferry saw a deer trying to swim towards Shell Bay, but being carried back into the harbour by the current.

Dorset Wildlife Trust advises people not to approach deer while they are swimming as it can cause them stress.

Deer have been clocked doggy-paddling at speeds of up to 13 miles an hour and spotted as much as five miles away from the nearest land.

Sika deer are often sighted swimming between the mainland and islands in Poole Harbour.