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Norfolk lifeboats search in dark and choppy waters for three hours following “probable” hoax call

PUBLISHED: 10:37 19 September 2015 | UPDATED: 08:05 21 September 2015

Mundesley Lifeboat

Mundesley Lifeboat

Archant

Coastal rescue teams were searching in pitch black darkness and choppy conditions for three hours this morning after a “probable” hoax call from a public phone box.

Mundesley inshore lifeboat and Mundesley and Happisburgh coastguard rescue teams were paged at around 2.50am on Saturday to reports of a man in a dinghy off the sea front.

Wayne Ellis, coxswain of the Mundesley lifeboat, said there was no moon last night and the swell was around five to eight feet in places.

He added the cost of the trip for Mundelsey lifeboat would have been around the £1,000 mark.

“We were searching with a search light in those conditions probably looking for nothing,” said the 29-year-old. “Humber coastguard are treating it as a probable hoax.”

Maritime operations manager at Humber coastguard, Matthew Atkinson, said they were called at 2.40am from a public phone box.

He said the rescue teams searched the area “extensively” and nothing was found.

“It lead us to believe there was nothing there.

“We are confident if someone had been in the area we would have located him,” he added.

Mr Atkinson said he believed Humber had been in touch with the police to see if they could get any further information.

Mr Ellis, who works for a plumbers’ merchant in Cromer, said: “At the end of the day we volunteered to do this. For the guys who responded, they have families at home and jobs as well. We are there to help and that is why we put the pages on our belts.”

But he added: “If it was a hoax call it’s people risking their lives going out there.”

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