Snowdonia hoax caller jailed over £32,000 mountain rescue
A man who made a hoax call about a Snowdonia mountain accident, prompting a £32,000 rescue operation, has been jailed for 16 months.
Caernarfon Crown Court heard Michael Cuminskey also raised a bogus alarm in the Lake District, Cumbria just a few days earlier in March 2016.
The 23-year-old from Darlington pleaded guilty to two charges of causing a public nuisance.
He had previously been convicted of a similar offence in Scotland.
North Wales Police said his actions were “unforgivable” and welcomed the sentence.
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The court was told Cuminskey was a vulnerable man who craved affection and support, but judge Huw Rees said only a custodial sentence was appropriate to send a message to other potential hoaxers.
Speaking after the case, PC Gethin Jones from North Wales Police said hoax calls not only “show a lack of respect for the emergency services” but divert staff and volunteers from genuine emergencies.
“This particular incident is estimated to have cost the public purse over £32,000 which is unforgiveable,” he said.
“The search and rescue helicopter was dealing with this particular incident where it could have been needed elsewhere on a genuine life-saving call.”
Phil Benbow, chairman of the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association, said as charities, the teams “rely solely on voluntary contributions to remain operational” and maintaining a high level of service is a “costly affair”.
“Any unnecessary call on our resources carries a significant impact, and we welcome today’s sentencing,” he said.