Prankster ‘catches great white shark, removes tag, uses to set off hoax alerts’

A man who caught a great white shark was charged with theft after taking its tag off so he could set off warning buoys.

Surfers became the bait when the alarms went off, warning beachgoers there were dangerous animals in the water.

But the shark he had caught by accident wasn't roaming those waters at all – and is now swimming untracked, The West Australian reported.

The unnamed 48-year-old triggered seven warnings over a month-long period off the coast of Albany, Western Australia.

Huge sharks are tagged by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in order to keep beachgoers and surfers safe from attacks by the deadly beasts.

Despite not intending to catch the great white, the fisherman did trigger the warning buoys on purpose to play a prank on unknowing Albany tourists.

Lead officer Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier described the man as "irresponsible" and slammed him for causing "unnecessary fear".

Mr Letessier added: "It leaves an untagged white shark that we know is in waters off Albany.

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"Also the false alarm causes unnecessary fear to residents and people using the water."

The shark is said to be still alive after having been released by the wacky fisherman, cops said.

He is expected to face Albany Magistrates Court to face charges on November 4.

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