Police are investigating an attack on a lifeboat – by amateur golfers who used the vessel for target practice.
The four-strong crew of the RNLI boat were sent ducking for cover as golf balls whizzed around their heads.
The unidentified amateur golfers are alleged to have targeted the rescue boat from outside a cliff top pub near their station in Kinghorn, Fife.
The crew were on their way back from rescuing two people from a disabled boat when the golf balls starting flying in, one getting as close as 10ft.
Lifeboat chiefs have condemned the August 11 attack as “dangerous and irresponsible” and Police Scotland have confirmed they are investigating.
Paul Wibberley, operations manager at the Kinghorn station, said: “The crew were returning from a call out when they became aware of golf balls being fired in their direction.
“They saw a group of men in front of the Carousel firing golf balls into the sea.
“As the boat came past they didn’t stop and it was like they were being used as a target.
He added: “There is no way they could have failed to notice them. One ball came within 10 feet of the boat.
“Even though they were all wearing helmets, it was dangerous and irresponsible.”
A local enjoying a stroll on the beach below the pub, who asked not to be named, said he was bombarded with between 40 – 50 golf balls and reported the matter to police.
“I was having an evening stroll when I became aware of golf balls being hit and some just missing me and other people out for a walk.
“The bombardment of balls just missing people was constant and someone could have been seriously hurt or injured.
The witness also confirmed the passing lifeboat was targeted when returning to it base, saying that it was “attacked by the balls” with one just missing a member of the crew.
The walker said those concerned were “acting totally irresponsibly with no concern for my safety or any other members of the public”.
“It’s a sad situation when people can’t go about their business for fear of being hit by 40 to 50 golf balls,” said the walker.
The source claimed the golfers were members of nearby Kinghorn Golf Club.
But Joan Tulloch, secretary of the club, insisted they had not had any reports or heard anything about the incident.
She added that if any of its members were found to have been involved then action would be taken.
Alistair McGregor, chief executive of Fife Golf Trust, the operator of the course, said: “This is the first we have heard of this.
“At Kinghorn there are a lot of people who play who are not members.
“We will look into this matter and decide if anything needs to be done.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We have received an anonymous letter of complaint and we are investigating it.”