Sea rescue launched after flares let off

Vandals who stole flares from boats beside the River Arun and set them off around Littlehampton have been condemned by the local harbourmaster.

A number of 999 calls were made after people saw red parachute flares. Coastguards patrolled the seashore, the Harbour Board launched a rescue boat and lifeboat crews were put on standby.

“It’s just mindless,” harbourmaster Colin Hitchcock told local papers. “People who think it’s aimless fun to let the flares off are causing a lot of other people to be active and on standby for an emergency.”

The flares were taken from six boats laid up ashore at Arun Yacht Club early on Tuesday morning. Some flares were set off at the same time, and others were seen at 2.44pm, 4.15pm and 10pm.

A shed at the yacht club was also broken into during Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, as was the clubhouse, from which a safe was taken. It was recovered nearby.

Police are appealing for information.