Homeless man says sorry for bay rescues

The RNLI hovercraft rescued the same man from the sea three times in four days.
The RNLI hovercraft rescued the same man from the sea three times in four days.
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A homeless man who sparked three major rescues in Morecambe Bay after he walked out into chest-deep water has apologised for his actions.

Cezary Fortuna had to be saved by the hovercraft three times in four days and was later convicted in court of causing a public nuisance.

Fortuna, 36, waded out to sea last Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The lifeboat crew, police, ambulance and coastguard were called out each time.

After the third occasion, Fortuna was arrested.

A spokesman for Morecambe RNLI said Fortuna was in “a despondent mood” when he was found each time – twice after wading out 500 yards from the Stone Jetty and once opposite Lord Street.

He appeared at Lancaster Magistrates Court on Monday.

Speaking through a Polish interpreter, Fortuna, of no fixed address, said: “I’m very sorry and I would like to apologise.”

The court heard that he had been living in England for 10 years.

After his second walk into the bay on Thursday, he was detained under the mental health act and then let go.

It was not clear whether he wanted to attract attention or was seriously ill.

Appearing from custody, he pleaded guilty and was remanded after an application for bail was denied.

Alan Sandham, chief magistrate, said: “We believe that custody should be imposed for Mr Fortuna for his own protection and due to the nature and seriousness of the offence.”

Fortuna will appear for sentence at Lancaster Magistrates Court on December 16.

The Visitor understands Fortuna had wandered out into the bay and been rescued twice before Wednesday.

It is also believed he tried to wade out into the bay on Friday too, but was stopped.

Inspector Kirstie Banks-Lyon said: “The concern is that his behaviour is meaning that police officers can’t respond to other incidents because they are engaged in dealing with one man.

“The evidence is that he planned these events by leaving messages in public places to the extent that they are going to be found. His behaviour needs to be addressed. He knows that by walking into the sea he will be rescued and he is doing it by daylight when he can be seen.”
Lisa Moorhouse, Network Director for Adult Mental Health Services said: “Before someone is assessed for potential detention under the Mental Health Act, a full and thorough assessment is undertaken by two doctors with specialist training in mental health and/or knowledge of the individual, along with an Approved Mental Health Professional (AHMP).

“The purpose of the assessment is to consider the least restrictive and most appropriate way of providing the care and support that the individual needs.

“If detention under a section of the Mental Health Act is not the most appropriate course of action then the team will support the individual to access the services which are best able to support them.

“The Trust works closely with colleagues in the emergency services and the Local Authority to assess people who it is felt have a mental health problem and ensuring that they access the most necessary medical and social support in the right environment is a priority to meet their needs.”