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Lifeboatman with 15 years' service is one of two sacked after their 'jokey' tea mugs showing naked women were branded a 'safeguarding risk' in case visiting school children saw them (7 Pics)

A lifeboatman who served with the RNLI for 15 years was sacked alongside his junior colleague for having mugs with naked women on them in the office.

Whitby crewman Ben Laws and his workmate Joe Winspear were allegedly sacked over the phone on Tuesday.

The pair are reported to have swapped the 'jokey' tea mugs for Secret Santa presents.
One featured Mr Winspear's head superimposed on a naked woman's body.


One mug featured Mr Winspear's head superimposed on a naked woman's body (pictured) 

When a senior female member of staff found them at the headquarters in North Yorkshire, their jobs were brought into question.

The pair were initially told to destroy the mugs and that they would face no further action.
But the men, who are not paid for their work with the RLNI, then had to go through a disciplinary hearing that looked through their private Whatsapp messages.

They were eventually let go, sparking resignations from four of their colleagues in protest, reports The Sun.  



Ben Laws is reported to have 15 years experience with the RNLI but was let go over the mug 


Trainee RNLI volunteer Joe Winspear (pictured), 26, was the other crew member to be sacked

According to the newspaper they were told they could no longer work at Whitby's RNLI branch because the mugs could have been found by schoolchildren, which posed a 'safeguarding risk'.  

The members of staff who have resigned in support of Mr Laws and Mr Winspear are navigator Steve Boocock, helmsman Martyn Cairns and trainees Neil Cook and Simon Rhodes.    

A source told The Sun Mr Laws has 15 years RNLI service under his belt and has had to save lives and recover bodies from the water.

They slammed the row as 'overkill' and said the men deserve 'a medal...not marching orders'.  



Fellow Whitby crew member Neil Cook (pictured) is believed to have quit over the saga 


Navigator Steve Boocock (pictured) is another Whitby volunteer who has quit over the mug 

An RNLI spokesman told the BBC:  'We are aware of speculation about the issue on social media but we want to stress that this was not a trivial matter.'

'The lifeboat station should be an environment where people can expect to be treated with dignity and respect.

'We cannot allow bullying, harassment or discrimination in what should be a safe and inclusive environment and there will be serious consequences for anybody who demonstrates this behaviour within the RNLI.

'Our dedicated volunteers represent the values and principles of our organisation and we will not allow any behaviour that brings the work of the RNLI and our people into disrepute.'   

A petition has now been started by locals to revoke the sackings, which the men themselves are also believed to be appealing. 

In a separate incident last month long-serving RNLI coxswain Tom Clark MBE was sacked from the Scarborough station.

The organisation claimed Mr Clark had taken a lifeboat out on an 'unauthorised training exercise'. 
A petition to reinstate him after 34 years of service across North Yorkshire and Teesside has gathered over 1,000 signatures.   


Martyn Cairns (pictured) is also believed to have handed in his resignation over the mug row 


Whitby RNLI volunteer Simon Rhodes is the fourth member of the team to resign 

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