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Thousands spent by emergency services responding to hoax calls
MORE than £2,000 has been spent by the fire service alone in responding to hoax calls in the past three years.
A total of 286 hoax calls were made to West Mercia Police and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service since January 2010.
West Midlands Ambulance Service could not provide any figures with regards to prank calls.
The fire service alone spent 35 hours in that period responding to 41 malicious false alarms at a cost of £2,488, while a further 49 were made but challenged by staff, meaning they were not responded to.
Police dealt with 196 hoax calls in that time.
Hoax callers are dealt with seriously as it is illegal to make a hoax call to the emergency services, and in June a man was told he faced jail for keeping five police officers occupied with false reports of a car crash just outside Hereford.
Sarah Buxton, West Mercia Police press officer, said: "Hoax calls are a waste of our resources, especially if they result in officers being deployed as they could have spent their time helping people with real emergencies instead.
"False reports also increase the pressures on staff in our control room and may prevent or delay members of the public from reporting genuine incidents.
“We do investigate hoax calls and we will deal robustly with anyone who thinks it is acceptable to make false 999 calls.”
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