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8 July 2019, 18:52 | Updated: 8 July 2019, 18:58
A coastguard station in the South Hams is likely to remain closed until Christmas after the sacking of two senior officers at the base in Hope Cove.
Ian Pedrick and Richard Clarkson are set to appeal the Maritime Coastguard Agencies decision to let them go after an incident where they rescued a car which had rolled close to a cliff edge at Bolberry Down.
They were dismissed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) with immediate effect this week after using their own car to tow the vehicle.
Richard, who has 42 years’ experience, said: ‘We were acting completely off our own bats, but because the coastguard vehicle was still here, technically we were still on duty.‘
‘They said if we had taken the coastguard Land Rover back to the station none of this would’ve happened.’
The paid volunteers responded to calls of a car down a cliff at Bolberry Down on the south Devon coast on June 20.
However, they said they were stood down when it became clear the car was safely at rest and no lives were at risk.
Because they are the two senior members all the other volunteers have been stood down and the base closed until further notice.
They deal with around 30 incidents a year ranging from missing people to livestock falling off cliffs.
The duo have apologised if they have done something wrong, but going through the rulebook it seems as their only mistake was not taking the coastguard liveried vehicle back to base before returning with the recovery vehicle.
But in the letter the MCA were concerned about a so-called ‘near miss’ but have yet to clarify what that was and what other rules the pair have broken.
The MCA have responded by confirming the two men have resigned and then said it would be ‘inappropriate to comment at this time’.