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Former Buckie RNLI man admits hoax emergency call-outs

By Alistair Whitfield

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Elgin Sheriff Court.... Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Elgin Sheriff Court.... Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

A former member of the Buckie lifeboat crew has admitted being behind 19 hoax emergency call-outs.

Leon Marandola was still a member of the RNLI service when the hoaxes took place between June 17 and August 25, 2019.

The 20-year-old was responsible for bogus phone calls, radio messages and Facebook posts.

In them he variously claimed that vessels and people were in trouble at sea and needed rescuing.

Marandola did not appear at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday.

However, his defence solicitor tabled a guilty plea to charges of sending false messages for the purpose of causing "annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety" to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

He is due to be sentenced on June 3.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "We stand with our colleagues in Police Scotland and the Coastguard in condemning those who make hoax calls.

"Calls of this nature, where the perpetrator knows no life is at risk, not only waste time and resources but also endanger the lives of those who could need our services, only to find them unavailable or unable to reach them in time.

"As an organisation we are, of course, disappointed that these calls have been made by a person previously connected to our lifeboat station. The person is no longer a volunteer with us."

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