Nuisance caller may have attempted to 'undo' the nuisance he had caused

A Mayday broadcast received at Humber Coastguard that triggered a search and rescue operation on Monday night was discovered to be a hoax after the same caller revealed that the supposed distressed vessel was safe in harbour.

The caller purported to be one of six persons aboard the fishing vessel ‘Smuggler’ which was sinking six miles off Steetley Pier, Hartlepool.

In response to the call Hartlepool Lifeboat was launched and it was joined by the fishing vessel `Copious’.

Later, the fishing boat ‘ Bonny Lass’ reported that the `Smuggler’ was alongside in Victoria Harbour.

Both vessels were discovered safe and well but unoccupied in the harbour.

Watch Manager Mike Green said:
“From our recordings we believe that the calls from both the ‘Bonny Lass’ and the ‘Smuggler’ were made by the same person who was ashore in the Headland area of Hartlepool.

‘Unfortunately we could not get a bearing for the initial Mayday due to the weakness of the signal.

“It appears that the caller having appreciated the full extent of the nuisance he had caused then attempted to mitigate his actions.

“Apart from the fact that to make hoax calls is a criminal offence the hoax caller has put the lives of all the responding volunteers in danger.

‘The fishing vessel ‘Copious’ consequently lost time and money. I am grateful for their assistance.

‘A similar call was also received the previous evening. Our enquiries into the source are continuing.”