VOLUNTEER lifeboat crew members were called after red flares were spotted off the coast.
The Hartlepool RNLI all weather and inshore life boats were both launched at about 4.30pm on Wednesday after the flares were seen off Horden Point, near Horden.
Coastguard teams from Seaham were also called upon but it was quickly established that the flares had been let off on land.
A spokesman for the Humber Coastguard said: “This was a false alarm in terms of a rescue but it was the correct response to a maritime distress signal.”
Coastguards spoke to witnesses on the beach who had spotted the flares being set off but they were unable to speak to those responsible.