MOUNTAIN rescue volunteers turned out in force in horrendous blizzard conditions, putting their lives at risk for what was a hoax call.

Longtown Mountain Rescue Team received on Wednesday, January 8 a request from Gwent Police to assist in the search for a 19-year-old man, said to be missing on the Blorenge, near Abergavenny.

Adding to their concern was the belief that he was poorly equipped and lacked any basic mountaineering knowledge.

Fifty mountain rescue volunteers from Longtown and Brecon were joined by search dogs and a rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor, who scoured the icy slopes of the 1,700ft peak in treacherous conditions.

Just as the rescue team was ready to resume a new search at 1.30am on January 9, Gwent police called to inform the volunteers that the initial call out had been a hoax.

Bob Wilson from the Longtown Mountain Rescue Team said: "This stupidity put many lives at risk because searchers were out at night in snow and ice, walking on steep mountain sides.

"I cannot understand the mentality of those responsible. We have wasted some of our hard earned and valuable money, which we want to spend on real casualties."

Meanwhile, Longtown Mountain Rescue Team members had two real emergencies on their hands on Saturday.

In the first incident, the team was called to Pen-Y-Fan to assist a 21-year-old woman with leg injuries.

An RAF SeaKing helicopter flew the casualty to hospital.

Later, members helped a family of four off Graig Fan Ddu after they were stranded 2,500ft up.