INVERGORDON lifeboat crew have condemned a hoaxer who sparked a two-hour rescue attempt in the Cromarty Firth.
The lifeboat was launched at 9.58am yesterday morning after Aberdeen Coastguard received a report of a fishing boat which had lost power.
The volunteer crew of seven made best speed towards the reported position around the Munlochy Bay area off the Black Isle.
With good conditions and clear visibility, the crew spotted a fishing vessel near Chanonry Point, but it was quickly confirmed it was not the casualty vessel.
Several further searches were concluded and after the lifeboat also entered Avoch Harbour, it was soon established there was no vessel in distress.
The reported vessel was later located in Avoch Harbour where it had not moved for several days.
The incident is now being treated as a hoax call and Police Scotland has been informed.
The lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service by 12.30pm.
Volunteer crew member and press officer Michael MacDonald said: "The RNLI relies entirely on voluntary contributions and legacies for its existence and operational service, and it is extremely disappointing that people should waste valuable resources of the charitable organisation in such a thoughtless way.
"It was fortunate that a genuine emergency didn’t occur at the same time."