Hoax Coastguard calls putting lives in danger

Aberdeen is home to the HM Coastguard Operations Centre and Coastal Operations Base
Aberdeen is home to the HM Coastguard Operations Centre and Coastal Operations Base

North East coastguards responded to 22 "malicious" callouts in the last three years, according to new figures.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) observed 1,970 false alarms across Scotland since 2016, with 123 or 6% classed as hoaxes.

Some 405 calls were recorded between Brora in the north and Aberdeen in the south, more than one fifth of the Scottish total.

Malicious calls made up 5.4% of contacts.

The MCA provides a 24-hour maritime search and rescue service around the UK coast, and international search and rescue through HM Coastguard.

Aberdeen is home to the HM Coastguard Operations Centre and Coastal Operations Base.

And a local MP has praised the “round-the-clock dedication” of paid and volunteer coastguards which often does not make the news.

Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, David Duguid, said: “Across Scotland and the UK, coastguard personnel are involved in thousands of callouts every year. They are dedicated right around the clock like any other emergency service.

“Members of the public usually only hear about their brave exploits at cliff rescues or when taking part in multi-agency operations.

“But these figures confirm just how much work goes in to checking falls alarms, and unfortunately the extent to which their heroism can be abused. Each one of these idiotic calls in the North East could have put lives in danger.”

The MCA said false alarms are classified as good intent or malicious intent by the officer who took the call.