A HOAX caller has been jailed after calling out the Queensferry lifeboat to a rescue that never was.
Krzysztof Grzegorz Mlynarski, (30), from Edinburgh, was sentenced to 145 days in prison after being convicted of making a hoax call to the emergency services.
The verdict handed out to Mlynarski has been welcomed by Queensferry RNLI who now hope that this custodial sentence will dissuade others from making irresponsible nuisance calls.
The incident took place on September 13 last year when Mlynarski called the coastguard claiming he was trapped on Cramond Island with his friends, one of whom he claimed had a broken leg.
A helicopter rescue team was scrambled and the Queensferry lifeboat was launched but, despite an extensive search in testing weather conditions, no one was found on the island.
The rescue mission involving the helicopter cost thousands of pounds.
The false call-out saw the local lifeboat crew have to risk their own lives by getting into the water to search the coves around the island for the sea swell was too dangerous for the lifeboat to land crew members ashore.
Hamish Campbell, spokesman for Queensferry lifeboat station. said: “The malicious hoax call put lives of the RNLI Queensferry lifeboat crew at risk. Conditions on the day were extremely poor with 50mph winds and heavy seas with a metre and a half swell making it impossible for the lifeboat to land crew members on Cramond Island.
“The lifeboat had to stand off and two crew members had to swim from the lifeboat to the island to search for the ‘casualty’.
“After this wholly unnessary and fruitless search, conditions were so bad the Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet lifted the lifeboatmen from the island and landed them at Cramond.
‘‘The hoax call triggered a full and immediate response for the emergency services and meant that the volunteer crew from the RNLI Queensferry Station risked not only their lives but also the lives of others, as a real life drama could have been unfolding elsewhere.”
Police chief inspector for the Almond Ward, Murray Dykes said: “Hoax calls risk lives - not only those of the rescue teams, but by diverting emergency responders from other genuine life-threatening incidents.
“A hoax call should never be considered a harmless prank, as it wastes the valuable time of emergency responders, and could ultimately result in a prison sentence for the person responsible.”