Coastguard

Man who made 19 phone hoaxes at HM Coastguard is sentenced

Leon Marandola’s hoax calls led HM Coastguard to deploy helicopters, coastguard rescue workers and RNLI lifeboats at a cost of £ 170,000

Leon Marandola was sentenced in Scotland after making false and malicious calls to HM Coastguard.

The 20-year-old, who joined the Buckie RNLI team as a volunteer in May 2019, was ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work and received a two-year supervision order.

A restriction of liberty order was also issued.

Marandola has pleaded guilty to making 19 telephone hoaxes in an earlier hearing at Elgin Sheriff Court.

The hoaxes were launched during a two-month period between June 17 and August 25, 2019.

They led HM Coastguard to send helicopters, Coast Guard rescue officers and RNLI lifeboats to save lives when in fact no one was in danger.

The cost of these calls has been estimated to be around £ 170,000.

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HM Coastguard said that figure did not take into account volunteer salaries that may have been lost due to calls, the costs of the HM Coastguard operations room or the costs of any merchant or industrial vessel that may have been hijacked by HM Coastguard to help with the research.

Commenting on the case, HM Coastguard Coastal Operations Area Commander Ross Greenhill said: “Hoax calls are taken very seriously because they mobilize vital life resources and risk drawing them away from those who are. really in serious danger, which could have serious consequences.

“As in this case, we will always work with the appropriate authorities to thoroughly investigate and prosecute if we suspect that hoaxes are taking place.

“This case stands out because the offender is someone who wanted to work alongside the emergency services to help people and prevent loss of life at sea. Every time he made a false report he was putting it in danger. the safety of his fellow RNLI and HM Coast Guard volunteers and let down his local community.

“We hope today’s conviction will make others think twice before making false calls to one of the emergency services. Endangering the lives of members of the public and colleagues in the emergency services will never be tolerated, ”he added.


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