SACKED lifeboatmen have spoken out after a failed appeal to be reinstated to the Whitby RNLI crew following a row over a ‘hardcore pornographic mug’.

Joe Winspear and Ben Laws have been told their appeal was unsuccessful after breaching the RNLI code of conduct for what it deemed was inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Winspear said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has contacted us and supported us though this entire nightmare.

“Myself and Ben received the decision that will not be reinstated to the Whitby Lifeboat Crew which for us is a heart-breaking decision as all we have ever wanted to do was to save lives at sea.

“The mugs where a light-hearted joke between the crew of which no one of the crew was offended.

“The mugs were found by an area lifesaving manager and we as a crew were told that if they were taken off the station no further action would be taken.”

Mr Winspear said the mug was taken away from the station within 48 hours, but two months later he and Mr Laws received emails from RNLI informing them they were under investigation. Following a lengthy disciplinary process, they were told they were to be stood down.

Mr Winspear said: “I feel that the punishment doesn’t reflect the situation. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time but it seems the RNLI doesn’t give second chances.

“I have been a dedicated volunteer and feel I have been made an example of. All of this has cost the institution thousand of pounds which is money supposed to be used to save lives at sea.”

A spokesman for the RNLI said: “We recognise the years of dedication it takes to become a crew member and do not stand volunteers down lightly. One was stood down for social media activity which targeted a member of RNLI staff without their knowledge and produced graphic sexual images.

"The other produced a hardcore pornographic image of a fellow crew member on a mug. The image was so graphic no newspaper would be able to print it.”