A POPULAR boat tour operator has announced it is withdrawing one of its south Essex services after seven years.

Jetstream Tours has operated the Gravesend to Tilbury ferry on behalf of Kent County Council since 2017, and said it is "proud" to have been able to provide these services for the past seven years.

The operator has announced that the popular service is being withdrawn at the end of the current contract period on Sunday March 31, with the final service on Saturday March 30.

The firm stated that “due to ongoing concerns and uncertainties presented around future funding” they have been “unable to enter into negotiations with the council” about extending the current contract.

They added: "Jetstream Tours and our staff would like to thank ferry users for their ongoing support in this troubling time and we hope that a suitable funding solution can be found to sustain a regular and reliable ferry going forward."

A c2c spokesman said it is believed that Thurrock Council and Kent County Council are in the process of seeking an "alternative supplier" to operate the service, but "nothing has been confirmed at this stage".

They said: "While we are not responsible for or involved in the running of the ferry, we appreciate that the withdrawal of the service will impact some c2c customers who travel to and from Tilbury Town station."

Jetstream Tours runs the popular Redsand Towers tours and cruises to Queenborough from the end of Southend Pier.