Emergency crews rushed to the Arbroath cliffs after a transit van caught fire in the early hours of today.
And lifeboat crews were dispatched just after 8am to join the operation.
It is understood the lifeboat’s involvement was a precautionary measure due to the location of the van.
Police were carrying out an inspection on the vehicle which was set on fire shortly before 2am.
One local dog walker said he was “shocked” to see a vehicle so close to the cliff edge.
He said: “The van has been set well ablaze and it is still smouldering now.”
Another local added: “There are still dozens of coastguards searching the nearby shoreline.
“I think people will be mystified as to how the van has got up there.
“The paths are really tight for a transit van and it doesn’t appear it has come through the farmer’s fence from the nearby estate.”
David Wishart, 66, from Carnoustie said he was “stunned” to see the van so near the cliff edge.
He added: “We are up here fairly regularly and certainly didn’t expect to see this.
“There are still two coastguard vehicles in the car park along with a police car.
“I’m stunned how the vehicle got up here in the first place, there is no break in the fence to suggest it’s come through the farmer’s field.”
A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland attended the area of Arbroath cliffs about 1.40am today in response to reports of a vehicle on fire.
“The fire was extinguished by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who confirmed no one had been inside. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”
Hector Sutherland, senior coastal operations officer, said: “We are assisting police with their inquiries and covering every possibility.
“There are no reports of anyone going into the water, but given the time of night, it may be a possibility.”