RNLI crew are set to quit after two shipmates were sacked for keeping saucy tea mugs onboard

We told yesterday how volunteer crewman Ben Laws and trainee Joe Winspear were dismissed.


Four colleagues in Whitby, North Yorks, walked out in protest.  A seventh is considering following them — and told pals: “If they are not reinstated a lot of us will go.”

The crew were said to be devastated by the events.

George Whitlow, 50, who recently left the RNLI in nearby Scarborough, said: “The crew had a meeting on Wednesday night and decided to wait until the outcome of the appeal.”

Bank worker Joe and cafe owner Ben, who has served for 15 years, were sacked on Tuesday following a probe.

Mugs with naked women on the side were found in a cupboard.

They were judged to be a “safe-guarding breach” because they might be seen by visiting school pupils.

Top brass also examined private WhatsApp messages. Harold Smith, 62 — a fisherman rescued twice by the crew — said: “What’s happened to these lads is pathetic.”

Last night the storm over a tea cup caused outrage online with members of the RNLI withdrawing support.

One said: "I've been donating to the RNLI since I was a little kid, my Mum would give me a sixpence or shilling to give the man standing outside the shop.

"I continued giving most years, right into my middle age. Whitby sackings = NEVER AGAIN."

Another wrote on Twitter: "All RNLI volunteers should stand down until the board goes. My family have left 3 homes in Wills to your service.

"These Wills will change if you DONT!! Clocks ticking. Fools."

The RNLI has insisted the reasons for the dismissals were “not trivial”.

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