Drilling rig work off Norfolk coast sparks emergency calls to Coastguard

File photo of wet and windy conditions in at Cromer on the North Norfolk Coast. Seagulls catching th

The coast at Cromer where a drilling rig, the Noble Hans Deul, is operating on a new gas reservoir.

Drilling work off the Norfolk coast sparked a flurry of 999 calls from people believing they had seen a ship or wind turbine on fire, it has emerged.

HM Coastguard received 22 999 calls on Friday (July 16) from people concerned they had seen a fire off the Cromer coast.

A spokesman said people had thought it was a vessel or a wind turbine on fire.

But he confirmed there was no fire and it was in fact a drilling rig platform, the Noble Hans Deul, which is currently working 22 miles north of Cromer to create a new well for a gas reservoir.

The spokesman said he "appreciated people's vigilance" but wanted people to be aware that this operation was currently happening - and was expected to continue until Sunday morning (July 18) - to prevent them being flooded with calls on Saturday night (July 17).

He said the drilling was happening "all the time" but thought it might have been "more visible" due to the clear night there on Friday.

Those with concerns about genuine emergencies off the coast are still encouraged to call for 999 and ask for the coastguard.