A man has been charged for allegedly falsely setting off distress flares which led to a multi-agency response in the north-east.
The Fraserburgh lifeboat, the coastguard helicopter, and the police were called out to a search in the Cairnbulg and Inverallochy area on Monday evening.
Flares were set off in that region, leading to the emergency response.
After searching for a couple of hours, nothing was found and the teams were stood down.
Now, police have confirmed that a 24-year-old man has been charged in connection with culpable and reckless conduct.
MAN CHARGED FOLLOWING FLARE INCIDENT IN INVERALLOCHYPolice Scotland has charged a 24-year-old man in connection with…
Sergeant Iain Fraser, of Fraserburgh Police Station, said: “The flares were seen in the Cairnbulg and Inverallochy area around 6pm on Monday, 1 February, 2021, which resulted in a significant search involving Police Scotland, the HM Coastguard helicopter and the Fraserburgh Lifeboat.
“The man has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal following the incident.”
The teams searched the area between Rosehearty and St Combs but found nothing.
They then worked out that the flares had been fired from inland, and after further searches, a pair of discarded casings were discovered.
The coastguard warned locals about the dangers of setting off flares in a Facebook post following the search.
‘Person in genuine distress may not get the help they desperately need’
Senior coastal operations officer, Calum Christie, warned of the dangers dealing with flares and potential hoax calls, he said: “HM Coastguard will respond to all distress signals to protect lives.
“Flares should only be used in an emergency as whilst dealing with a flare signal that is found to be a hoax, another person in genuine distress may not get the help they desperately need.”
‘Exposed to the perils of a February gale-blown North Sea – for no reason’
After putting their own lives at risk, the action of the rescue teams were highly praised by Aberdeenshire Councillor Charles Buchan.
He said: “The coxswain and crew of Fraserburgh Lifeboat are highly motivated and experienced in saving lives at sea.
“But to have them completely exposed to the perils of a February gale-blown North Sea for no reason has to be deplored, as should be the actions of the wilful people who set off the flare.
“Our brave crewmen, who in the past have paid for the public service with their lives, are such an asset to our seafaring community, and should be treated as such.”
Wasting precious time
Conservative Councillor, Andy Kille, who serves the Fraserburgh and wider district, condemned the false usage of flares, he said: “Many of us will be familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf. We want the public to see a distress flare and report it – not assume it’s another false usage.
“To use these types of flares without good reason, wastes the precious time and resources of the emergency services and ultimately could lead to a lessening of the flares impact with the public and so endanger lives.”