The Blorenge, scene of the search. Photo: Ralph Rawlinson CC-BY-SA-2.0

The Blorenge, scene of the search. Photo: Ralph Rawlinson CC-BY-SA-2.0

Rescuers spent hours combing a Gwent mountainside for a missing man on Boxing Day only to find the emergency was a hoax.

Mountain rescue volunteers and police officers spent more than four hours searching the Blorenge, near Abergavenny, in appalling weather conditions after the alarm was raised on 26 December.

Officers from Gwent Police were joined by 18 volunteers from Longtown Mountain Rescue Team after a report of an injured man near the summit of the 561m (1,841ft) mountain.

The search found no sign of him and further investigations revealed the call to be a hoax.

Search leader Tim Potts, from Abergavenny-based Longtown Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Luckily incidents like these are few and far between.

“All our members are volunteers and when the call came they turned out to search in high winds and driving rain.

“It was fortunate we received no other callouts that day as the actions of the hoaxer could have delayed our response to a genuine emergency.

“I would like to pay tribute to our volunteers who gladly gave up their time that day as they do for every call we receive.”

Chief Inspector Rod Grindley of Gwent Police said: “The vast majority of 999 calls we receive are genuine emergencies and we deploy resources as appropriate.

“Sadly though we do receive around 1,000 hoax calls every year which do distract officers from their duties.

“In this case officers and volunteers from Longtown Mountain Rescue Team were deployed to search in atrocious and challenging conditions before it became apparent that the call was a hoax.

“Thankfully this call didn’t result in Gwent Police being delayed in responding to a genuine emergency.

“On average we receive around 1,000 hoax calls per year and wherever possible we pursue those involved.

“The maximum punishment for wasting police time is six months in prison.”

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