The hoax calls led to four hours on the hill for Ogwen Valley team members. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The hoax calls led to four hours on the hill for Ogwen Valley team members. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Rescuers in Snowdonia spent more than four hours searching in heavy rain after a series of hoax calls were made to police.

The first call was made about 7.15am on Saturday, with Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation responding to the call for help.

Chris Lloyd of the team said: “The 999 call had gone to the nearest provider’s mast which was not the caller’s provider. This meant the number could not be traced.

“The man reported that he needed help and that he was in the Cwm Idwal area. The line then went dead. This call was repeated a couple more times with little more information.”

Two hasty parties from the Ogwen team made their way to the area and searched footpaths. As more team members arrived, areas above the cwm were searched in heavy rain and poor visibility. A total of 15 volunteers responded to the callout.

Mr Lloyd said: “At about 9.30am, North Wales Police contacted OVMRO with a report of a man needing help on Tryfan but no further information. At this stage, we had our suspicions and asked the police to check similarities between the calls.

“They confirmed our suspicions and as the areas of the highest probability had been searched around Cwm Idwal and with the prospect of numerous hillwalkers going into the area that day, it was decided to recall team members from the hill.

“On the plus side, there were no further calls for OVMRO that day, so team members had time to dry kit and spend weekend time with their families. Also, these hoax calls are rare in the mountain environment.

“On the negative side is the cost: fuel cost and family time cost for members, the cost of opening up Oggi Base and running team vehicles to deploy MRT members. And of course, police time.

“They are stretched enough with real police duties let alone dealing with a time-wasting, thoughtless and irresponsible prankster.”

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