Police warn against misuse of marine flares after false alarm near Wainfleet, Ont.

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WAINFLEET, Ont. — Police are reminding the public to not use marine flares unless it’s an emergency after a false alarm over the weekend.

Emergency services were called to the shore of Lake Erie after a marine flare was spotted near Wainfleet, Ont., on Sunday night.

Niagara regional police say a member of the public had reported seeing the red flare go off and land approximately 22 metres from shore.

Police say emergency personnel scoured the shoreline and water for any boats or people in distress.

A Canadian rescue aircraft in Trenton, Ont., was placed on standby in case its assistance was required and a drone was also used to scan the area.

Police say a discharged marine flare was found on shore in the area of the initial flare sighting but no boats or people were found in distress.

After nearly two and a half hours of searching the area emergency services stood down.

Police say that careless use of a distress flare can needlessly tie up emergency personnel and prevent them from attending to other emergency calls.

They also warn that intentionally discharging a flare in a careless manner could be subject to investigation under the Criminal Code or the Canada Shipping Act.