Police have launched an investigation after a call made to Aberdeen Coastguard earlier today was determined to be a hoax.
A distress call was made at around 1.30pm, raising concerns that people were in difficulty in open water.
Coastguard rescue teams from Macduff, Buckie, Banff and Portsoy were joined by RNLI lifeboat crews from Buckie, Macduff and Fraserburgh searching the Moray Firth from Gardenstown to Whitehills.
Local Police Inspector Megan Heathershaw said: “Obviously any distress call made to the coastguard has to be taken seriously, often leading to an intensive search utilising significant resources given the immediate threat there might be to someone’s life.
“When it turns out that a call has been made with sinister intentions, the coastguard’s precious time has been wasted which could have prevented someone who really needed help from getting it.
“These types of calls are malicious, expensive and beyond belief therefore each one is thoroughly investigated and every effort made to identify the person responsible.
“Inquiries are ongoing into this particular incident and anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting incident number 1748 of August 9th 2018.”