Four people had to be rescued from England’s highest mountain after taking cannabis, police said.

The stranded group called 999 at around 6.30pm on Saturday to report they were unable to walk down from Scafell Pike, which rises to a peak of 3,209ft (978m) in the heart of the Lake District.

Cumbria Police said officers worked with the Wasdale mountain rescue team to find the group and bring them down more than three hours later at around 9.45pm.

Cumbria Police posted messages on social media about the rescue, which read: “Persons phoning Cumbria Police because they are stuck on a mountain, after taking cannabis. Now having to deploy M’tain Rescue, Air support and Ambulance to rescue them. Words fail us …..”

They later said: “Persons rescued by MRT, after becoming incapable of walking off mountain due to cannabis use. MRT volunteers putting themselves at risk to prevent harm.”

The posts attracted more than 1,000 comments on Facebook, with many users suggesting they should foot the bill for the rescue.

Superintendent Justin Bibby said: “Never underestimate the mountains. Mountain safety is your responsibility.

“Carry the right equipment and food and know how to use it. Our priority is your safety. The Wasdale mountain rescue team had a particularly busy day yesterday dealing with this and other incidents.

“They are volunteers, they do an amazing job and they are always there to assist those who get into difficulty.

“Taking alcohol or any other substance that could impair your judgment significantly increases your risk of getting into trouble; it has no place on a mountain.”