A pile of clothes found on a track in Waihī Beach this morning led police to search the water for a missing swimmer - who didn't exist.

A police spokesperson told the Bay of Plenty Times that the person who had found the clothing had called police, assuming there was a missing swimmer out at sea.

But this was not the case, however, as there was no indication anyone was out swimming at the time of the call, the police spokesperson said.

Police were called at 12.30pm.

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Meanwhile, police also confirmed that they had been called to search for a missing swimmer off the coast of Whakatāne this morning.

A fisherman had not yet returned from his trip out on the ocean and police had been involved since 11.15am.

Police were searching around the Coastlands area.