View Full Version : Hoax Caller on "Trouble on the Beach"

1st Apr 2004, 10:52
Watched a programme (possibly only on Central TV) early last night called “Trouble on the Beach” (I think). Quite an interesting documentary series about rescue units from the RNLI and a Coast Guard helicopter rescue unit in Devon. Nothing unique about that. But, last night’s episode contained a concerted effort from a hoax caller who consistently tried (successfully, sometimes) to cut across genuine emergencies, for the whole duration of the programme (one day in reality). She (they established that the caller was approximately 16 and female) spent almost the whole programme, either singing over the air, keying her mike or sending out hoax emergencies.

What surprised me, was that the rescue unit sent out a couple of vehicles to try to locate the offender, which they eventually did, finding that she was transmitting from a smallish block of flats in Brixham. At that point, they were recalled for yet another (real) “shout” and could not follow up the situation.

My questions are, why did they not call in the police, to check the flats? Do the police not have the authority to arrest hoax callers on marine frequencies? Surely it would be a fairly easy operation to narrow the location down to one or two of the flats in the building?

Left me somewhat baffled.

1st Apr 2004, 11:29
I am hoping after watching that programme as well yesterday that someone may have recognised the person involved and that they are now arrested and " have the book thrown at them"

I am utterly amazed at the individual concerned, they could hear there were genuine emergencies trying to get through and they continued to block the frequency.

One very sad and mad individual. :mad:

1st Apr 2004, 11:34
I watched the programme you mention. From what I gathered, teh coastguard obtained a bearing for the hoax radio calls, and using that bearing, they were pretty confident that the hoaxer was in the flats.
I'm not too up to date with the law, but I would have thought that before the police would be able to do anything, they would have to know the exact location, to enable them to get a search warrant. They wouldn't be able to search every flat in the block to find the culprit.

Personally, I think that if she (or any other hoaxer) who is convicted, should have to spend a few days on a lifeboat/fire engine/ ambulance etc, so they can see what effects their pranks can have. (then lock them up for a long time)


1st Apr 2004, 11:46
I believe any action to be taken has to go via the RadioCommunications Agency.

They treat interference with emergency services' transmissions with upmost priority. It is then that an individual can be dealt with using the support of the Police.

I do not think the Police themselves have the power or technical resource to act alone.

1st Apr 2004, 11:59
Also interested and dismayed by the apparent lack of positve action to trace and stop the prank calls. If they had taken a bearing was it not possible to get a second bearing and by triangulation try to locate the approximate position. The radio in use would/ could probably be a permanent fixture in that place and simply having the police begin to make enqieries would in itself have probably been enough to frighten the hoaxer into stopping her dangerous mischief. The program only served to re-inforce such behaviour by it's mild rebuke. Mentioning that serious efforts would be made to track the culprit would surely have produced a better result.

1st Apr 2004, 12:07
As Paterbrat mentions, with the exception of one or two mild comments from two of the Coast Guard operators, it did seem, that the incident(s) were almost being treated as a mild irritation, rather than a multi-life threatening crime. Possibly other comments from those involved were too explicit to be broadcast!!

Boss Raptor
1st Apr 2004, 13:07
I too watched it and was amazed they did very little to pursue and stop the problem...I can only assume that they have to call in the Radiocommunications Agency in to stop it and if so that is ridiculous...a handheld would have enabled you to adequately trace the transmission almost to the door (especially after they seemed to identify the building) and then a few Plod should have done the trick...

Surely they can construed as 'endangering life by... etc.' and surely this is an offence that could be dealt with by the Police?!

1st Apr 2004, 13:19
Believe me the chaps and chapesses from the RA act very quickly.

I only know from an experience with a laser comms device which was installed on a rooftop, perfectly legally, a few years back.

They were round in hours as it was affecting TV reception from a nearby repeater station.

I got chatting to them - fascinating people and asked them about their priorities etc etc.

They don't mess about when emergency services are being affected and bring in all possible resources. However, it is them who have to take the initial action as far as I know.

[edited for spelling correction]

1st Apr 2004, 13:28
I have been watching a few of the programs in the series, but missed the one last night. Me and the kids often surf on the beaches involved.

I've always treated this ocean with the respect it deserves, and have seen, first hand, the efforts of the RNLI when called to deal with an emergency situation. The lifeguards are all, without exception, class A professionals.

This 16yr old is not just misguided or negligent. She is a class one menace, they should throw the book at the w:mad: er.

DX Wombat
1st Apr 2004, 13:29
I didn't manage to see the programme as I was at the Radio Club last night where I am doing my Intermediate Licence course but, like Lost Luggage, can assure you that Ofcom, which has taken over the RA, can and will prosecute anyone deliberately interfering with emergency communications. :mad:and not just emergency ones either. Anyone transmitting without a valid licence can be prosecuted and their equipment confiscated. Let's hope they catch the person concerned and do exactly that. :ok:

2nd Apr 2004, 16:51
Sadly, once again another example of public services producing major efforts to help serve and protect the general public whilst being undermined by foolish and totaly irresponsible individuals. And equaly sadly, who appear in the the present atmosphere of permissiveness to be allowed to get away scot free, with little means or apparent will to deter them from their scofflaw and antisocial attitudes.

Anthony Carn
2nd Apr 2004, 18:50
Personally, I think that if she (or any other hoaxer) who is convicted, should have to spend a few days on a lifeboat......
Better still, alone in a rubber dinghy in the middle of a very big ocean. :E

2nd Apr 2004, 23:30
I was also shocked at the level to which the Coast Guard seemed to be saying 'we can't do anything about it'.

Obviously an idiotic - but admittedly very young - girl, who was endangering lives with her moronic behaviour.

She should have been located, arrested and charged accordingly.

3rd Apr 2004, 00:11
A similar circumstance was taken very seriously here in Perth, WA this week.

Arrest over airport hoax

A 19-YEAR-OLD Lynwood man has been arrested by Australian Federal Police for making bogus radio transmissions to pilots and air traffic control at Perth airport.

AFP agents will allege the man made a number of hoax transmissions on Monday and Tuesday this week.

He was arrested late on Thursday after a surveillance operation at a shopping centre carpark.

The man has been charged with using a transmitter in a way likely to interfere with radio communications, knowing such interference was likely to prejudice the safe operation of an aircraft, under the Radio Communications Act 1992.

Federal agents will allege some of the transmissions contained threats to the safety of aircraft, and calls impersonating pilots asked for clearances to enter controlled airspaces, for landings and to cross active runways.

Air Services Australia spokesman David Gray said commercial pilots had recognised the caller as an impostor, ignored his instructions and alerted air traffic control, which had changed frequencies.

The man will appear in Perth Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. Borrowed from this thread (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=125020)

3rd Apr 2004, 16:45
I bet they'd have been round pretty sharpish if she'd not paid her TV licence.

I didn't believe she was 16 at all. I my view, it sounded more like a pissed, middle aged Bradford woman pretending to be a kid. Hope she's been identified and prosecuted though.