RNLI chiefs have claimed that the decision to stand down two Whitby crew members involved "much more than saucy mugs."
Reports in the national press said that the pair were believed to have been sacked after 'Secret Santa' mugs featuring their faces superimposed over a naked woman’s body were found when an RNLI boss visited the station.
But the charity has insisted that there is more to the dismissals than just the mugs. A spokesman told the Gazette: “This is about much more than ‘saucy mugs’ but for legal reasons and given the crew members have a right of appeal it is not appropriate to say more at this time.”
Three other crew members are said to have resigned on the back of the sackings.
The national media named the sacked pair as crewman Ben Laws and trainee Joe Winspear.
A petition calling for the pair to be reinstated has boomed to more than 1,500 signatures.
The Whitby Gazette approached one of the sacked crew members for comment but they declined and said “none of the crew are talking to the press.”
The pair were stood down following an RNLI investigation into "the production of inappropriate material of a sexual nature and associated social media activity directed at an RNLI staff member."