Police officers provided a taxi service for a stranded father after he dialled 999 demanding a lift in the rain to avoid a soaking.

A police car reportedly picked up the unidentified man and his children from a flyover in Shoreham, West Sussex and drove them to a nearby bus stop after he threatened to lodge a complaint.

The man said he would call the Police Complaints Commissioner if officers refused to collect them.

A Sussex police spokesman said of the incident: "A passing police car did give him a lift to the adjacent A283 as he had young children with him.

"He was then left as he was able to wait for a bus or phone for a taxi. Clearly, 999 is for public use only in emergencies."

"He was lucky he was not dealt with for wasting police time," reported Metro.

Details of the bizarre incident emerged after a local policeman posted it on Facebook.

Street pastor Ian Chisnall, who unsuccessfully ran for the position of Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner last year said: "It was not an emergency, but full credit to the police - they helped some children and deserve a gold star."

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, also condemned the wasteful use of resources.

"It's ridiculous that this essential service was used for such a trivial issue," he said.

"Taxpayers expect police to spend their time protecting the public from crime, not act as a taxi service."

In June this year a Birmingham man dialled 999 to complain about a prostitute's appearance.

West Mercia Police said that he made the complaint under the Sale of Goods Act, claiming that the woman had made out that she was better-looking than she actually was.