Women calls 999 over snowman theft
A woman dialled 999 to report a theft - of a snowman outside her house.
Police said she thought it demanded their involvement because she had used pound coins for the eyes and teaspoons for the arms.
The woman, from Chatham, Kent, has been "spoken to" by officers to advise her about what constitutes a real emergency.
Kent Police issued a transcript of the "completely irresponsible" call which they received overnight as they fielded thousands of calls from people because of the sub-zero conditions.
In the call, the woman tells the operator: "There's been a theft from outside my house. I haven't been out to check on him for five hours but I went outside for a fag and he's gone."
The operator asks "Who's gone?" and the woman replies: "My snowman. I thought that with it being icy and there not being anybody about, he'd be safe."
The incredulous operator asks her: "Do you mean an ornament?" The woman replies: "No, a snowman made of snow, I made him myself. It ain't a nice road but you don't expect anybody to nick your snowman."
The operator then tells her that it is an emergency line and she should not be ringing it to report the theft of a snowman.
Chief Inspector Simon Black, from Kent Police's force contact and control centre, said: "This call could have cost someone's life if there was a genuine emergency and they couldn't get through. It was completely irresponsible. We have spoken to her and advised her what is a 999 call, and this clearly was not.
"We do have powers to prosecute people for misusing the 999 system, but in this case the woman genuinely thought this was a theft that she should report because she'd used pound coins for the eyes and teaspoons for the arms."