Hoaxer caused sea search for missing child in Newquay
A hoaxer who called police to report a missing child has been arrested after sparking a Coastguard search and rescue operation which cost thousands of pounds.
The unnamed 25-year-old man dialled 999 stating that a five-year-old child had gone missing at Great Western Beach in Newquay, at 6.15pm.
It triggered a huge rescue mission with 22 coastguards from Newquay and Padstow, as well as the emergency services, rushing to the scene.
Devon and Cornwall Police even scrambled its helicopter which scoured Newquay Bay between 6.40pm and 7.40pm. However, the search was called off when holes began to appear in the man's story.
He was taken to Newquay Police Station on Friday for questioning and later released without charge after it emerged he was suffering from mental health problems.
Sergeant Regie Butler said: "We had a report of a five-year-old child missing on Great Western Beach which, with the tide coming in, caused us great concern.
"However, after further inquiries, the male who reported the incident led us to believe it was a false call with malicious intent.
"There were a lot of bits about his story that did not tie in, but unfortunately we have got to take calls like this seriously as time is of the essence.
"Until we know for certain, we treat it as a genuine call."