Coastguards have contacted police after a distress flare was fired from land in what is believed to be a malicious act, sparking a major search.
Three coastguard teams and a lifeboat were called out to search after a vessel off Peterhead spotted the flare at around 8.45pm on Saturday.
It was not clear whether it had been fired from sea or land so both areas had to be searched.
The flare was found in the Dales Park area of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, at around 10pm.
Aberdeen Coastguard said it was believed to be a malicious act and have reported the matter to police.
A coastguard spokesman said: “There have been a lot of resources out and about looking for this because it is a recognised distress signal so you think someone is in distress until we locate where it has been fired from.
“We have handed it over to the police now for them to follow up.”
The Peterhead lifeboat and coastguard teams from Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Cruden Bay were involved in the search.
A police spokesman said they were aware of the incident.