Hoax call warning after Derby man’s malicious 999 text

The Peterborough Beer Festival IV inshore life boat.
The Peterborough Beer Festival IV inshore life boat.

Following a recent lifeboat call-out the RNLI and coastguard have signalled a warning to potential hoaxers.

The Skegness inshore lifeboat was launched on Tuesday, January 14, just after receiving a call at 1.30pm, to reports of a person “drowning off Skegness”,

The Skegness lifeboat crew commenced a search, but Coastguards called it off within 12 minutes and the RNLI later tweeted that the call had been identified as a ‘hoax’.

With trained and experienced call operators and new technology in place, the Coastguard can solve and locate hoax calls from landlines, mobile phones and call boxes to a fair accuracy, explained Mike Puplett, Humber Watch Manager.

In this instance, the call in question was quickly resolved and was traced to an adult male, who sent a text message to the coastguard, from the Derby area.

“Mobile phone masts give information to our systems, and this gives us location coordinates directly into our operations room. Some people make hoax calls from home and this gives us instant details of names and addresses and our mapping system zooms to the location quickly”, said Mike.

“How would these people feel if they knew that through their actions, they contributed to an innocent, unknown person or rescuer being injured or losing their life? When we identify these people, we will take them through the courts”.

Russell Matthews, volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “Hoax calls not only endanger the lives of our volunteer lifeboat crew members, they also tie up valuable lifesaving resources which could place those in genuine need of help in worse danger.

Operations of this nature waste the funds of the RNLI, a charity that relies on donations, legacies, and the very generous support of the Skegness community to save lives at sea.”

“It’s shocking and disappointing that anyone feels the need to make a hoax call like this, but reassuring that the Coastguards and police are able to identify and track them down so quickly,” he added.