A man in Scotland has been jailed for four months for making hoax calls to the UK Coastguard

A man who has been found guilty of making multiple hoax calls to the UK Coastguard has been jailed for four months.  Alasdair Munro, 55, from Kyleakin, Skye, appeared before Sheriff Scott at Portree Sheriff Court on 27th August 2015.

Mr Munro denied all charges but was found guilty of an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003 section 127. The court was told that Mr Munro had called HM Coastguard multiple times on 30th October 2013 claiming that a yacht was lost in Loch Hourn.

Mr Munro explained that he had spoken to someone on VHF radio stating that they were lost in Loch Hourn and didn’t know how to get out.  In response to his call, the Mallaig RNLI Lifeboat and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams were sent to search for the vessel.

The yacht that Mr Munro claimed to have heard from was not found. Police interviewed Mr Munro and found that there was legitimate cause to believe that the calls to the Coastguard had been a hoax.  In passing sentence, Sheriff Scott said in his view that Mr Munro was guilty of the offence beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Munro apologised for what he had done.  In jailing him for four months, Sheriff Scott said it was an extremely serious offence.

Jackie Mackenzie, HM Coastguard, said:

The important thing is that the hoax caller was found and punished. HM Coastguard fully supports the action of the police and the court in dealing with this offence.  Hoax calls can, and in this case did tie up a valuable maritime Search and Rescue resource. Those who risk their own safety to rescue others should also not be put at needless risk in responding to hoax distress calls.’