THE father of two youngsters swept to their deaths off the Norfolk coast has called for an improved warning system to make people more aware of the dangers around Britain's coastline.

Mr Kevin Loughlin yesterday made his appeal as a coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure on Jodi, six, and Tom, four.

The inquest heard that Mr Loughlin and his partner Lynette Thornton were helping each other put on suntan cream while their children ran excitedly into the sea on the second day of their family holiday.

A coastguard and a former Tory MP, whose wife was almost swept away on the same beach at the same time, both testified to the unusual strength of the tide on that day at the end of August.

In a statement read after the hearing, Mr Loughlin, 37, a computer consultant from Upper Norwood, south London, paid tribute to the work of search teams which spent three days looking for the children after they went missing from the beach at Holme next the Sea, near Hunstanton.

He said holidaymakers needed to be made more aware of the dangers which could be hidden on popular beaches.

He said the family arrived at the crowded beach at 5pm on Sunday August 18.

They were 150 yards from sand dunes and 400 yards from the sea, he said. He told the inquest that Tom ran off towards the water, soon followed by Jodi.

He said it was Miss Thornton, after only about five minutes, who realised the children were missing after she went to find them at the water's edge. The couple scoured the beach for two hours, he said.

Asked by Norwich district coroner William Armstrong why they had waited for two hours before calling the police, Mr Loughlin said neither of them really believed the children had come to serious harm.

``We both felt they had got lost somewhere on the beach. It's a very large beach.''

He added: ``We simply didn't believe they had drowned and couldn't believe two healthy children could have got into difficulties there. It was our impression that it was a safe beach.''

Mr Armstrong read out a statement from Christopher Brocklebank Fowler, former Conservative MP for North West Norfolk, who was swimming on the beach at the time.

Mr Brocklebank Fowler said he became alarmed when he noticed his wife's clothes, which they had left some distance up the beach, were being swept away by the sea. As he rushed to rescue them, he noticed his wife was going further and further out to sea and shouted to her.

He said the ``tide came extraordinarily fast and the current was extremely strong''.

Norfolk coastguard sector officer David Thiel said the day marked the top of the spring tide, which meant the sea would have come in unusually quickly. Another hazard was undulating sandbars which created three foot channels along the seabed. These probably contributed to the children's difficulties, he told the inquest.

Summing up, Mr Armstrong said there was no evidence of any suspicious circumstances in the children's deaths. He said post-mortem examinations had disclosed no untoward marks and indicated that the otherwise healthy children had drowned.

Investigations into the background of Miss Thornton and Mr Loughlin proved they were ``loving and caring parents, devoted to their children''.

It was, he said, a terrible tragedy.