Hoax caller fabricated elaborate tale of teenager running into the sea late at night because he ‘liked the attention’
A hoax caller sparked a rescue operation which cost an estimated £10,000 after fabricating a story about a teenager in trouble in the sea.
More than 50 emergency service personnel took place in the bogus search for a teenager who had reportedly run into the sea late at night.
Lifeboats, coastguards, police, a helicopter and two ambulances all joined the search on January 22 following a 999 call from Alex Jackson at 10.32pm.
The 20-year-old claimed he had seen a teenager enter the ocean opposite the North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood, near Blackpool, before admitting he had fabricated the entire story because he enjoyed the attention.
A court was told last week that Mr Jackson had consumed two bottles of vodka and three-litres of cider before making the phone call.
He was bailed for pre-sentence reports including custody to be considered by Blackpool magistrates.
Prosecutor Malcolm Cartwright said: “Fifty emergency personnel were involved in the search. It was expensive. I’m told it cost £10,000 or more. There was also the danger to those searching in the dark.”
Jackson eventually admitted the call was a hoax, saying: “OK I made it all up. There’s
no-one in the water. I love the attention.”
Mr Jackson’s defence argued that he had mental health problems and had recently split up with his girlfriend.
A police spokesman said: “The 999 service exists for people to report emergency incidents to the emergency services, for the police it could be a crime in progress or where life or serious injury is at risk.
“People using this service for any other reason is simply unacceptable and can delay the response to a real emergency. While our operators are dealing with these types of calls, people in genuine need of emergency help may be trying to get through.”