Officers sent boats to island on Loch Leven in major response after false tip-off about campers
Emergency services mounted a full-scale rescue operation, including fire engines, ambulances and lifeboats, after a passerby thought a group of heavy metal fans out camping were involved in a suicide pact.
The three men were enjoying beers around a camp fire on an island in Loch Leven, Perthshire on Sunday night, as their children slept in a tent, when they saw the lights from police boats rushing across the water towards them.
“For some reason the police had received a tip that we might be in grave danger and they came to rescue us,” said Panagiotis Filis, a lecturer at Aberdeen University and a founder of the Black Metal Brewery. “They really did a great job of rescuing us, the only issue is that we didn’t need rescuing.”
Police had smashed the windows of one of the group’s cars, which was parked on the mainland, apparently searching for a suicide note. When interviewing the men, they said they had been concerned about a potential kidnapping.
The group was ferried across to dry land, where they reported seeing more than 20 emergency service vehicles and about 50 people waiting for them. “The amount of resources they threw at it was just ridiculous,” said Ross Anderson, a civil engineer.
“When we got on to dry land there was a police officer there and he had cuts all over his hand from breaking both the windows on my car,” he said. “It felt to me that they were all pumped up and ready to take on something when there was nothing to take on.”
Speaking to the Scotsman, David Henderson, a modern languages teacher and member of the heavy metal band Nyctopia, said: “They kind of made us feel as if we did something wrong, but we just like to go wild camping, drink beer and listen to heavy metal music.”
He said he thought the incident had happened because the group was dressed in black and the children had face paint on. “Because we were all dressed in black and look like heavy metal fans, people sometimes assume we are dangerous,” he said.
Following the ordeal, the group – which included two 10-year-olds, a seven-year-old and a dog called Jazz – were left on the shore with nothing but a police incident number. They were forced to sleep in their cars because they were over the legal alcohol limit to drive home.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We were called regarding a concern for a group of people on Sunday at around 19.00. Inquiries were carried out, along with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and they were all traced safe and well at around midnight.”