Toilet roll call to police revealed
Published 03/01/2013 | 13:30
Running out of toilet roll and difficulty ringing a Chinese takeaway have been revealed as some of the frivolous 999 calls made to a police force.
Devon and Cornwall Police said other unnecessary calls made last year included reporting a leak in a bathroom and someone wanting a lift home on Christmas Day.
It comes a day after North West Ambulance Service said it was "disappointed" to receive a number of time-wasting calls despite a plea to the public to use the emergency services wisely.
Last week Greater Manchester Police also released audio recordings of prank callers reporting a marmalade theft and an Emmerdale plotline as it urged the public not to abuse the emergency 999 number.
A spokesman for the Devon and Cornwall force said its operators had released a flavour of some of the inquiries they have had to bat away to allow genuinely urgent calls to get through.
One entry on the police log read: "Just received a 999 call from a male saying 'I have run out of toilet roll'."
And just after 7am on Christmas Day, police received a call from a sober-sounding man outside Exeter police station asking for a lift back to Crediton. He told the operator he had spent all his money and, due to it being Christmas, said he was struggling to get home.
In another example, a woman who had been trying to contact her local Chinese takeaway called police after finding that they were not answering. She called the emergency number to ask if operators knew if the takeaway had closed down or moved.
Another member of the public called 999 to say that her electricity had gone out. The operator tried to give the woman the emergency number for the electric company but she would not believe that the police did not deal with electricity.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The 999 number should only be used for situations where life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required with an urgent response. 999 should only be used in an emergency."