A SECURITY guard helped to rescue a four-year-old boy who fell into a river.

The youngster, named locally as Jack Gosling, fell into the River Irwell outside the Tesco supermarket in Bocholt Way, Rawtenstall.

It is not clear how he got the wrong side of the railings and plunged around 10ft down to the fast-flowing river.

He was bleeding from the mouth when he was found and was airlifted to Manchester Children’s Hospital shortly after 4pm on Monday.

A family friend said Jack had suffered injuries to his nose and jaw and had an operation the next day.

They said he was ‘doing well’ in hospital, and was recovering with his family by his bedside. Jack was helped out by a security guard from the store and another man, believed to be Jack’s granddad, who he was with at the time.

A woman who was in the store at the time said she saw the man holding Jack near to the railings while they waited for the emergency services to arrive. The North West Air Ambulance landed near the store and took the boy to hospital.

Since the incident, Tesco has put a mesh fence alongside the rails to prevent anyone from getting through and down to the river.

The youngster got through black railings that are placed between a seated area yards from the supermarkets’ front door and the river below. There is a pedestrian bridge to cross from the supermarket on to Bocholt Way a few feet away from the railings.

Pat Byrne, store manager of Tesco’s Rawtenstall superstore, said: “We wish the young lad a speedy recovery and we're pleased that our security guard acted so quickly.”

Lancashire Police said they were made aware of the incident but it was not a police matter.