In a bid to stop people using the 999 line for reasons other than an emergency, the London Fire Brigade on Tuesday (26 July) released the oddest hoax calls they have received.
Ranging from the sexual to the simply nonsensical, the brigade said that they had to deal with 6,820 'malicious hoax calls' in 2015.
Out of those calls, control officers challenged 5,504, meaning they were deemed hoaxes and not attended by firefighters. Tom George, the Brigade's Head of Operational Response, Assistant Commissioner, said: "This summer holiday we're asking parents to talk to their children about why it's a bad idea to dial 999 and make hoax calls. Sometimes children don't understand the implications of making hoax calls or that they're wasting precious emergency service time by doing so.
"Some of the calls we receive are remarkable, people say some really bizarre things. I understand that some have health issues or genuine phobias which may impact on how they deal with certain situations, but many of the callers are simply messing about."
The brigade operates a 'call challenge' policy, meaning that suspicious operators will ask whether a call is a hoax and the caller is given the chance to admit and hang up. If multiple such calls are made from one number, it can lead to that number being cut off – or potentially prosecution.