back to article Stranded Hartlepool pair refuse coastguard rescue

Two people who were yesterday cut off by the rising tide at the mouth of the River Tees at Hartlepool refused a lifeboat rescue unless the emergency services also agreed to save their shopping trolley full of driftwood. The Maritime And Coastguard Agency (MCA) explains that at 4:14 pm, Humber Coastguard received a report of a …


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  1. Haku


    There truly is no limit to stupidity.

  2. fifi

    Just can't win.

    I can't help thinking there's a potential Darwin award in there somewhere, but if they HAD left them, then there'd have been a public outcry.

    IMHO, as long as the wood is more important to them than their own safety, then they don't need rescuing.

  3. Lawrence 7

    "s'seized the wood and threw it in the river".

    Thats exactly what i was thinking at the start of the article.


    1. Marvin the Martian

      Hypothermia can do that to you

      That argument doesn't hold, as hypothermia will make you very confused, and push you to wrong decisions. So this kind of death sentence is a bit unwarranted.

      That said, I'd send them the bill for about £2500 in helicopter time etc. For that price I'd bring their wood home with a taxi though. Also they're clearly guilty of stealing a shopping trolley, the chance they bought it honestly being nil.

      Letting people drive off in such a state moves the danger from themselves to other road users and seems borderline criminal.

    2. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: "s'seized the wood and threw it in the river".

      I think that was a bit over the top but they should definitely have been fined or charged for carriage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hypothermia

        Indeed, hypothermia can make you confused and stubborn. Mild hypothermia, not so much - start shivering when your cold, get goosebumps and technically that's "mild hypothermia". The resounding hole in the argument is that *she* was suffering it. He was just fine and dandio from the report I read (the linked official one).

  4. grimreality

    Should have been left to their own devices

    Prime example of what Darwins Theory of Evolution is a pile of crap. If it was true they would have and should have dies their in the cold as thier DNA should not be handed on to future generations.

    The alternative is they should be charged for the cost of the rescue.

  5. SynnerCal

    Quick put them on the TV

    They're ideal first contestants in a new gameshow that I'm designing "Are you smarter than a Pidgeon?" ... they'd obviously lose to the feathered feather-brains.

    I'm a supporter of the RNLI and it really steams me to think that these bozo's were effectively trying to blackmail the responding crew into taking their junk. Heck, the crew are giving up their time, and possibly putting their lives at risk. Can the CPS wrangle a conviction for "wasting police time" and get these cretins on some community service?

    Oh - one question on the comment about the plod who "seized the wood and threw it in the river" - I'm assuming that (a) there wasn't an envronmentally suitable alternative disposal method? and (b) that the lumber wasn't going to cause a "hazard to navigation". Be awful if the plod-dumped timber then holed the hull of some poor dinghy or yacht. Doh!

    Icon because your average Somali pirate shows more sense than the subjects of this article.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Sincerely hope they get billed

    Lifeboats are paid for by OUR DONATIONS and manned (peopled?) by selfless individuals who risk their lives to help.I would like to think the people who are saved would be just the slightest bit grateful for the risks that strangers take on their behalf (though in practice, most aren't).

    The last time I looked into it, many years ago, our local cops reckoned it cost £900 / hour for their helicopter to wake up 10,000 people in the middle of the night - and I suspect it costs much more now. It would be nice to know that at least some of their costs (as well as the lifeboat costs) could be passed on to the induhviduals who exploited the unwillingness of these crews to leave them to their fate.

  7. Alex Walsh


    Hope they get a very large bill for the helicopter call out.

    1. Jay Castle


      "Prime example of what Darwins Theory of Evolution is a pile of crap. If it was true they would have and should have dies their in the cold as thier DNA should not be handed on to future generations."

      Personally, I think people who can't spell or use punctuation correctly shouldn't be allowed to breed either, but I don't hope they 'dies in thier cold'.

      Harsh justice, from a cacky-fingered commenTARD!.

      1. Bilgepipe

        Not Possible

        If people who can't spell or use punctuation correctly suddenly died out, there wouldn't be enough humans left to sustain the species.

        1. Goat Jam


          But those of us who are left would have a damn good crack at it!

          Mines the dirty overcoat, thanks.

      2. Lionel Baden


        does that mean i have to neutralise my kids ??

        my grammer is well shit ....

    2. Annihilator

      wood ditching

      a) environmental alternative - it's driftwood. It was already in the river. PC Plod just put it back.

      b) navigation hazard - it's driftwood. And it was less than a trolley-full. The only way it would hole a hull is if the plod fired it from a cannon at said boat.

      So yes, I imagine that they will get in trouble for it given the bizarre state of the world these days. :-(

      Personally I'd have charged this couple with theft of a shopping trolley tho.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    The RNLI is not greater than Charles Darwin

    Interfering with natural selection is a crime against humanity. One whose effect will not be seen until many generations to come, but is a crime none the less.

    Natural selection should have been left to take its course.

  9. Fred Mbogo


    What would have aced this article would have been: the cops seize the driftwood and then threw it into the river, tied on the couple's necks.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Should have applied Darwin's laws...

    ... and just left them there

  11. Owen Sweeney

    I think I've got it!

    I presume these were the famous pieces of driftwood that once were branches of the trees used to hang the monkeys in Hartlepool, all those years ago. for reference.

    I've mailed Jeff Stelling of Sky Sports asking him to confirm this speculation.

  12. Michael Chester

    No law against suicide

    Leave them a radio in case they change their mind though, once the first one succumbs to the waves, the other may well see sense.

    Reminds me of the joke about the preacher in the flood:

    "Oh lord, why did you not save me?"

    "I sent 3 boats and a helicopter, what more do you bloody want?"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This *is* the town that once hanged a monkey as a French spy...

  14. Neil Hoskins
    Black Helicopters


    Difficult to know the whole truth from this report. It could be a bunch of people making a big fuss about nothing. Within an hour the tide would have been down by about a metre anyway and they probably could have just walked away. And knowing what today's nanny-state terminology is like, "minor hypothermia" could well be what our parents' generation knew as "a bit chilly".

    1. Steven Walker

      It was guilty

      And hanging was too good for it

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      But ...

      ... presumably not before it bred into the community, since it's these fuckwits seem likely to be it's descendants!

      I'm not often in a position where I have to praise the police, but throwing the driftwood back into the river - real justice! I am a bit concerned about them being allowed to drive themselves away, though - making them walk home would have been even better!!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Geography lesson required.

    Hartlepool, is miles up the coast from the mouth of the Tees river.

    @Haku. When I was a bairn you'd often see people usually poor, with handcarts made from prams or any sort of wheels and axles, transporting scrap wood or coal, as they where really hard up. You'd see them scavenging the sea coal on the black middens, a coal seam that was exposed at low tide. Over the last few years I've noticed that they have reappeared, sometimes carts, sometimes shopping trolleys or adapted baby buggies. Nice to see that after 13 years of Labour gangsters in government we are back to those dark days of poverty.

    Notice that they did not call for rescue, and the wonderful police confiscated the wood and threw it in the river. ACAB.

  16. Ancient Oracle funkie

    I'm not normally nasty but ...

    Can't help but think that the police were quite restrained. If it were me, that couple would have ended up in the river along with the driftwood!

  17. Kikki D


    Maybe they were collecting the wood so they could build a canoe , Seaton's not too far away ;)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Thelma & Louise ?

    If they had no desire to be rescued, the nanny state should've left them alone. Bringing in a helecoptor only increased the cost to the tax payer.


    it notes the cops "seized the wood and threw it in the river".

    I assume that afore mentioned cops will be presented to the local magistrate, fined and made to carry out community service for littering? Maybe they will also be fined for contamination of waterways.

  19. Justabloke 1

    they should have

    built a raft. that way they would have saved the tax payer all that money. The rNLI guy's would have been tucked up safely in bed and they would have rescued themselves plus the driftwood!

    Let's hope this pair never breed eh?

    1. ToddRundgren

      @Geography lesson required.

      Erm don't think so. Mouth of the Tees backs onto Seaton Carew golf club. Seaton Carew is a district of Hartlepool, and yes I was born there.

      ******in embarrasing being born there, when these Pickey bastards show symian levels of intelligence.

    2. Daniel Wilkie


      Drift. Wood.

      That came from the sea.

      Ergo not littering.

  20. LinkOfHyrule

    ah, this explains...

    This explains all the abandoned shopping trolleys at the bottom of the sea then. They are a result of failed drift-wood salvage ops by nuttahs.

    Mines the one with some scanky planks hanging out the pockets

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They'll be the usual tedious morons going on about "Darwin awards"

    But it is possible that the couple's strange behaviour was partly caused by the hypothermia. Apparently "uncooperative and irrational behaviour" can be a symptom of hypothermia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      that or "well, I may die of hypothermia standing here, but without

      this bloody firewood I'm just going to die of hypothermia slightly later..."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bloody good point...

      I was going to post the same myself. Any boyscout would know the symptoms of hypothermia include not knowing that anything is wrong with you, irrational behaviour etc.

      @Some of the other commentors, please try to see other sides of stories before making a reactionary comment like "they should have been left there to die" especially as this is the sort of comment that would be condemed by most here if it appeared in a certain daily right wing newpaper.

    3. ravenviz Silver badge

      "shopping trolleys at the bottom of the sea"

      How do you know that?

  22. Anonymous Coward


    I'm a lifeboat crewman, we get quite a few calls to retrieve divers. (Mostly dead ones)

    You find obese guys with expensive hi-tech re-breathers going down to stupid depths and having a heart attack.

    Apparently diving attracts fat people because they like the feeling of being weightless.

    It's a strange world...

    1. Bilgepipe
      Thumb Up

      Lifeboat Crewman

      Icon because you're a lifeboat crewman. Nuff said.

    2. Emilio Desalvo
      Thumb Up


      Well, I am overweight, and the sensation in water is good, but, hey! There are swimming pools!

  23. P.Nutt

    If I was in the life boat...

    I would of told them I was counting to 10 and then driving/Sailing away if there asses were in the boat or not!

    Just hope the bloody muppets get billed for the entire rescue caused by there own stupidity!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Police littering

    The natural habitat of driftwood is in fact in coastal aquatic environments, so rather than littering the filth were simply releasing it back into nature.

  25. Velv Silver badge

    Throwing the wood in the river...

    errr, wasn't the problem that they were collecting the driftwood and the tide came in.

    Isn't the driftwood just going to wash ashore again, encouraging the idiots to go back for it ? Let's face it, given their proven track record or refusing to be rescued then refusing medical assistance, they clearly haven't learned of the dangers.

    Perhaps the driftwood should have been rescued and they protagonists thrown in the river - the wood clearly has more intelligence.

  26. Frostbite


    If "uncooperative and irrational behavior" is a symptom of hypothermia then my office is full of people suffering from it.

  27. kissingthecarpet

    Re:Geography lesson required

    There's a film called 'Seacoal' (I think), & very depressing it is too....

    1. Rob

      oh dear...

      ... it appears hyperthermia is now pandemic then as I too have seen these symptoms being exhibited by many I work with.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Is hypothermia a requirement ...

      ... for being a government minister, then? Do we merely need to turn up the thermostats in their offices in order for all the lunacy to go away?

  28. Winkypop Silver badge

    But doesn't a good captain...

    ....go down with his trolley?

  29. AlistairJ
    Thumb Down

    I really can't believe you lot

    First of all, they didn't ask for the massive over-zealous rescue attempt. They were merely scavenging for driftwood and got a bit wet and chilly. Big deal, none of this is even slightly illegal, except perhaps the twocing of a shopping trolley.

    Minor Hypothermia = shivering. Again, bigo dealo.

    The real story here are the police acting illegally in seizing the driftwood which they had no power to do, and secondly the clearly illegal disposal of said driftwood.

    I donate to the RNLI they are mostly a wonderful service and deserve great praise for most of what they do (although they can keep their patronizing periodicals). Any of you lot who cite Darwin or think these people must be idiots really must learn to read properly. Jeez. Monday already.

    1. SynnerCal

      True, I can't believe you either

      AJ said "First of all, they didn't ask for the massive over-zealous rescue attempt. They were merely scavenging for driftwood and got a bit wet and chilly."

      I'm guessing (apologies if I'm wrong) that the Coasties that were there first have enough medical training to recognise hypothermia. Madam had it (okay minor) so unless the bozo-two had a boat of their own standing by then they needed rescue. The clue to this is in the word "stranded" in the second para of Lester's article - and if you missed that then there's two uses of the phrase "cut off" to backstop it..

      So if they had left them, then they may have collected their Darwin Award, in which case the Scum (and other tabloid bogpaper) would be screaming "Hartle-plod lets couple die" or similar, questions in Parliment, etc.

      Be interesting to understand if Mr Bozo had noticed that 'er indoors was no well, in which case surely he'd want her rescued.

      Still, it all ended happily, no one got hurt/killed, and some folks get a laugh at their expense.

      1. AlistairJ

        Wrong, not all happy

        Why? They went home without the driftwood after being dealt with by heavy handed police acting illegally. Jeez, try to see beyond the Sun style reporting of "look at these idiots" story lines.


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