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

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.”