'Serious breach of Health and Safety procedures'

Volunteer coastguard crew at Hope Cove who helped rescue a teenager had their RIB confiscated three hours later and have been told they could face disciplinary action.

The crew launched the inflatable in surf after a 13-year-old girl was being swept out to sea by the tide. When they returned, the boat was towed away and locked in a garage. A spokesman for the MCA said: ‘The boat was suspended because of concerns regarding the structural integrity of the hull. We have identified a serious breach of health and safety procedures and they are currently being investigated.’

The inflatable, which has been in service for 15 years and carried out more than 100 successful rescues, was taken out of service in June amid concerns over its hull. The crew raised £2,000 to have it repaired and the boat was awaiting a further inspection by health and safety officials when the emergency call came.

Station Officer Ian Pedrick, 49, asked for permission to launch because the girl was just 150 metres out to sea. The nearest lifeboat was 6 miles away at the time. However the crew apparently lost radio contact with Brixham coastguard and went ahead anyway.

Villagers are now accusing the MCA of putting red tape above the safety of the public.

Full story: Metro .