NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Hoax call sparks major rescue effort off Aberdeenshire coast

Police have said a major search effort off the north-east coast on Thursday was sparked by a hoax call.

Aberdeen coastguard received the distress call at about 13:30, claiming someone was in difficulty in the water.

It led to a search involving three lifeboats and a coastguard helicopter. Nothing was found.

Police have vowed to trace those responsible and said while any call to the coastguard must be taken seriously, hoax calls were "malicious".

Insp Megan Heathershaw added: "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."

Anyone with information has been urged to contact police.