Hastings fishermen angrily hit back at claims they blocked RNLI from rescuing migrants

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Abuse was reportedly shouted at the RNLI volunteer crew – who often rescue migrants that are stranded or struggling in the water. Zoe, from Hastings, called presenter James O’Brien’s LBC radio show on Thursday to discuss the incident.

The caller said they heard shouts of “don’t bring any more of those home, we’re full up, that’s why we stopped our donations, and that kind of really horrible stuff”.

But Paul Joy, chairman of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, denied Hastings fishermen was responsible for the anti-migrant quotes.

Mr Joy said: “The lifeboat was going out and the fisherman was carrying his fish down behind the boat.

“The lifeboat was launching from the east side of the harbour, and the fisherman’s boat was on the east side of the harbour and he was already there.

“The fisherman concerned was carrying his fish down to throw back in the sea – the small, undersized stuff which you should do, and the lifeboat man shouted out, screamed at him, ‘get out the way’, and he said, ‘who are you talking to?’ and that erupted into a row.

“But he was on his own, and the person who was having a go was a lorry driver.”

He added: “I actually did go to the lifeboat house and spoke to the police and everybody was okay, and the lifeboat agreed that they would speak more candidly to the fishermen…and treat them with a little bit of respect.

“That’s all they want – to be spoken to in the right way.”

A spokesperson for the RNLI told the Hastings Observer: “We can confirm an incident was reported to the police.

“The lifeboat was able to launch and the station remains on service.”

Sussex Police said: “Just after 4pm on Saturday, November 20, police were made aware of reports of a disturbance near to the Hastings RNLI Lifeboat Station.

“A police officer attended the scene while also being supported by colleagues monitoring the situation on CCTV.

“No arrests were made.”

James O’Brien took to Twitter to share the news of the incident.

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He tweeted: “I had no reason to doubt my caller’s story but I didn’t want it to be true…”

Jake James tweeted: “Why are BBCNews not following up this story?

“Surely preventing the launch of a lifeboat as a political protest should be a criminal offence.

“Does this incident fall under Priti Patel’s new legislation on protests?”

Loopyleanne tweeted: “I’m from Hastings.

“Most would be out there with blankets & hot food for anyone rescued.

“But these idiots stopped the lifeboat responding – they made me so angry.

“You live by the sea – you respect the sea & anyone that can save you at sea.

“And you don’t get to decide who gets saved.”

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