Man sparked £5k Eildon Hills rescue after falsely claiming he was injured
A serial time waster falsely claimed he had injured himself and sparked a £5,000 hillside rescue operation because he wanted to make friends with the emergency services.
Michael Cumiskey dialled 999 to say he had a back injury and a sore stomach and could not walk off the Eildon Hills, near Melrose, Roxburgh.
Four fire appliances, six mountain rescue personnel, an ambulance and police officers responded to the emergency call and after eventually tracing him he was stretchered off the hill and taken to Borders General Hospital.
The 22-year-old was found to have no injuries and was released from the hospital.
But the police carried out a check into Cumiskey’s background and found he was airlifted from Ben Nevis and there were also reports of him being rescued by the Coastguard at Dumbarton, Torquay, Scarbrough and Dover.
They found him standing at a bus stop near the hospital and detained him.
In his police interview he said he pretended to slip and then dialled 999 so that he could get attention.
Cumiskey explained: “I like having people around me.
“I want people to care for me, to talk to and listen to my problems..
“I enjoy the attention. I only have one friend and it is a way to make new friends.”
He later said: “I am ashamed. It is out of order but I did it to get attention.”
Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told Selkirk Sheriff Court the cost to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was £3,810, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Unit was £865, the Scottish Ambulance Service £246 and Police Scotland £101.
At one point 17 fire fighters were involved in the operation.
The court was told Cumiskey suffered from ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome.
Defence lawyer Natalie Paterson said: “He is an extremely vulnerable person.”
Sheriff Janys Scott told Cumiskey of Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham: “You have caused a great deal of trouble. This is not the way to go about seeking help”.
She took into account Cumsikey had already served the equivalent of a six week prison sentence after previously being remanded in custody.
The sheriff gave him a 12 month community pay back order with supervision.
Cumiskey pleaded guilty to causing annoyance and inconvenience to members of the Fire Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team and the police service by sending messages he knew to be false stating that he had fallen and was injured, was immobilisied and needed to be rescued.
The charge went onto state the truth was he had not fallen, was not injured and did not need to be rescued on July 9 last year.