Scotland business

Teenager arrested after hoax Arbroath rescue operation

Arbroath Cliffs
Image caption The teenager sparked a large search and rescue operation at Arbroath Cliffs

A 17-year-old boy has been arrested after falsely sparking a major rescue operation by screaming for help while standing in four inches of water.

Emergency services, including an RAF Helicopter, were dispatched to Arbroath Cliffs on Tuesday night after a 999 call about a boy shouting for help.

The teenager was found unhurt in ankle-deep water.

He was later arrested, accused of a breach of the peace and resisting arrest.

The 999 call had been made by a concerned member of the public, who was in Victoria Park, above the cliffs, when she heard the teenager shouting.

Aberdeen Coastguard began a rescue operation, with both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats from Arbroath Lifeboat Station launched with teams of RNLI volunteers.

Three coastguard teams, from Arbroath, Montrose and Carnoustie, were also sent to the scene to aid the 17-year-old.

An RAF Search and Rescue helicopter was sent to scour the area.

Police officers were first to arrive on the scene at 21:40, but only had time to turn back one of the Coastguard teams before the others arrived moments later.

A spokesman for Police Scotland's Tayside Division said: "Police were called to Arbroath Cliffs after reports of a male having jumped into the water.

"A female in Victoria Park made the 999 call saying that she could hear someone shouting from the water that they were in trouble."

Hector Sutherland, Aberdeen Coastguard's watch manager, said the woman had done the right thing calling 999 despite the fact emergency services were not needed.

He said: "We don't want to discourage people from calling 999. It's reassuring to see these people have done that.

"Sea water is very cold at this time of year and the last thing we want people doing is going into the water to try to rescue people themselves. We have specialist teams to do this.

"If anyone sees anything in the water they should ring 999 straight away and ask to speak to the coastguard and we will investigate the incident."

The teenager will now be reported to the procurator fiscal.

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