Flares found by emergency services in search for hoaxers

The flares recovered by police and Coastguard officials. Photo by Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team.
The flares recovered by police and Coastguard officials. Photo by Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team.

Police and Coastguard officers have recovered flares in a search prompted by nuisance flares being set off.

Members of the Coastguard team in Hartlepool teamed up with Durham Constabulary to carry out checks after flares were let off in the Horden area this afternoon.

Durham Constabulary was involved in the search. Photo by Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team.

Durham Constabulary was involved in the search. Photo by Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team.

Calls were made at 4.45pm and follow on from series of reports in recent days, where flares have been set off in the village.

New and spend flares have been recovered from the rear of Sixth Street.

A spokesman for Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team said: "A quick shoreline search by ourselves and Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team was carried out to check for vessels in distress.

"No vessels seemed to be in distress, however after speaking to members of the public, who gave us further information, we found three live flares that hadn't been set off as well as empty casings.

Three of the flares recovered by the emergency services. Photo by Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team.

Three of the flares recovered by the emergency services. Photo by Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team.

"Durham Police took away the flares for safe disposal."

They added that flares are not fireworks and should only be set off in an emergency and that people should call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard.

In the wake of the incidents, Seaham's team has also issued advice.

A spokesman for its crew said: "In light of recent events, we would like to offer some advice regarding flares.

"Flares contain explosives, once they are past their expiry date it is essential that out of date flares or Time Expired Pyrotechnics (TEP) are disposed of carefully.

"It is illegal to dump flares at sea, illegal to dump them on land and illegal to let them off in anything other than an emergency.

"Ultimately the responsibility for the safe disposal of out of date flares rests with their owner.

"The eventual disposal of TEP must become part of your buying decision and who you buy them from."

Last night, just before 7pm, the Coastguard was called to the Horden area after red flares were set off, with more then launched and witnessed by members of Seaham's Coastguard team.

Again, a check was made to ensure no vessels were in trouble.