Hartlepool lifeboats were called out twice in two days to what turned out to be malicious hoax calls

Two men have been arrested after they made

hoax calls to Hartlepool RNLI over a two-day period earlier this week.

The first hoax call out occurred on Tuesday

at 8.51pm when the volunteer search and rescue service received a report that a

dinghy with two people on board was floating out to sea near to Heugh pier.

Hartlepool RNLI’s inshore lifeboat

responded to the call, completing an extensive search of the area.

After failing to find anything, lifeboat

crews were stood down by HM Humber Coastguard at 10.30pm.

A second hoax call out happened on

Wednesday at 8.35pm, reporting that a man in an orange canoe was in difficulty

and drifting near Middleton pier.

Both the inshore and all weather lifeboats

were launched to the scene but were met by a fruitless search and were stood

down at around 9.30pm.

The two men, both 20-years-old, were eventually

caught when volunteer crewmembers noticed the pair on the Banjo pier, adjacent

to the lifeboat station and informed the local coastguard, who in turn

contacted the police.

Officers from the Cleveland force went to

the pier and questioned the youths who were then arrested on suspicion of

malicious communications and later released on bail, pending further

investigation.

Hartlepool RNLI operations manager Mike

Craddy, said: “I am extremely disappointed at this waste of resources that has

not only put others at risk, but tied up valuable assets that could have been

needed in a real emergency.”