On 20th December, 2003 the ALB was launched after a call on VHF Channel 16 that
a 32 ft fishing boat, the ‘Caprice’ with five persons on board was in difficulty
with total engine failure in Conwy Bay. At this time the wind was gale force 8 with
a wave height of up to 4 metres, with heavy hailstone showers.
The lifeboat launched at 2140 hrs from the North Shore and had to navigate dangerous
seas around the Great Orme to reach the area identified by the caller. No further
communications were received from the vessel and after an extensive search by the
Andy Pearce the incident was considered to be a hoax.
This was the fourth hoax call received by the Coastguard and in an effort to put
a stop to the same a recording of the tape of the call was played on local and national
news programmes on TV in the hope that someone might recognize the voice. On 14th
January, 2004 a 58 year old man from Penmaenmawr was arrested on suspicion of making
the hoax calls to Holyhead Coastguard. In July, 2004 the man appeared in Court.
It was revealed that when his home was searched a VHF marine transmitter was found
together with an Admiralty chart with the precise co-ordinates used on 20th December,
2003 and with a line drawn from the sea to his house. He had no licence to use such
transmitter. Also found was a GPS receiver with the details of the co-ordinates
of 20th December on it. The man was sent to Crown Court for sentencing. In September,
at Mold Crown Court, he was placed on a community rehabilitation order for two years.