A man has been arrested following a ‘malicious hoax’ in which lifeboat crews were called out to Brean Down late on Saturday night (October 17th).

Police and Weston lifeboat crews were called out by Coastguards at 11.18pm after a report from a member of the public who claimed to have been swimming with a friend who appeared not to have returned to the shore and whose clothes were still on the beach.

Two Weston lifeboats launched within a matter of minutes and quickly headed to the Grand Pier area of Weston bay in poor visibility before starting a co-ordinated search pattern around the area, including between Knightstone Island and the north side of Brean Down. The Coastguard helicopter Rescue 187 from St Athan also joined the search.

But then at 12.35am all the search and rescue units were advised to stand down following an updated report from Avon and Somerset Police which stated that the individual responsible for the reported missing swimmer had in fact allegedly “fabricated” the story and the incident had in fact been a “malicious hoax”. He was subsequently arrested.

RNLI Helmsman Mark Frost said: “This was a huge search effort from multi agencies which could have been avoided, however should anyone spot a person in danger in the water, contact the Coastguard on 999 and give a clear, factual report of the situation that they are witnessing.”