The RNLI has issued a warning after two fridge-freezers were “dumped” in water off the coast of Aberdeen and mistaken for wreckage.
Reports of wreckage in the small harbour in Cove, five miles south of the city, were made at 8.20pm on Tuesday.
The crew of six on the Severn-class Bon Accord vessel were at the scene 25 minutes later, with the Y-boat daughter craft also deployed.
Assisted by HM Coastguard, they were able to secure the appliances on deck and return them to Aberdeen.
The Aberdeen Lifeboat crew also “had to break from social-distancing rules to attend the call”, with coxswain Davie Orr critical of the risks posed by their find.
He said: “Whoever dumped these fridges showed a casual disregard for the environment, sea safety and also caused a significant waste of search and rescue funds and resources.
“Fridges float, and can drift a long way. These two items could easily have holed a small vessel and caused a real emergency at sea.
“Our crew also had to break from social-distancing rules to attend the call, with the associated risks.
“The fridges were bulky and awkward to bring on deck but needed to be recovered to avoid another incident.
“We will always be ready to respond to any report of concern for safety at sea, but we hope the lesson of tonight’s false alarm will strike home.”