COASTGUARD officials are treating a callout for Helensburgh's lifeboat crew on Friday evening as a hoax.

The lifeboat crew, along with shore-based coastguard volunteers, police and coastguard helicopters and a Ministry of Defence launch was called out at 7.15pm on April 12 after coastguard officials received a distress radio message reporting a man overboard off Port Glasgow.

However, after an extensive search of the area, no trace was found either of the person in the water or of the related vessel.

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Police and Ofcom are understood to be investigating the hoax call, which is being treated as a criminal act.

Keith Shipman, press officer for the Helensburgh lifeboat, said: "Every time lifeboat volunteers launch they put their lives in danger to save people from the sea.

"This was a tremendous waste of resources from all the affected agencies who might well have been needed to do emergency work elsewhere."