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Youths disrupt coastguard emergencies

SHETLAND police were called in after a group of youth in the islands’ south mainland disrupted an emergency channel during two rescue operations.

Shetland coastguard’s Sumburgh-based helicopter was called out on Wednesday afternoon to airlift a woman to hospital from the diving boat Valkyrie, off Yell, after she crushed her hand.

Search and Rescue 102 landed the woman at the Lerwick’s Clickimin landing site at just before 4pm, from where she was transferred to the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The helicopter had been scrambled earlier in the afternoon when the local whitefish trawler Fairway reported a fire in her engine room while she was near Whalsay.

The fire turned out not to be as serious as initially thought and the helicopter was diverted to the incident off Yell, while the Fairway was escorted into Lerwick harbour by the local lifeboat.

A coastguard spokesman said their job coordinating the incidents was hampered by a group of youngsters in Shetland’s south mainland who were “being silly” on VHF channel 16.

Coastguard staff contacted the youths several times during the afternoon to discourage them from playing with the shipping and maritime distress channel.

The spokesman said they had no choice but to inform the police of the ongoing problem.

A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said police were aware of the “unauthorised use of the coastguard channel” and were making enquiries.