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28 October 2014
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    Inside Out - West Midlands: Monday October 31 2005

Hoax callers

David Garforth
Hoax caller - David Garforth has a history of fake calling

A hoax emergency call is made to the fire service in Britain every six minutes.

Many of these are made in the West Midlands, a region with one of the worst records for malicious calls and where such false alarms cost the emergency services £1 million a year.

Inside Out joins Staffordshire Fire and Rescue as the service tries to cope with the regular false alarms which drain valuable time and resources.

We also meet David Garforth, a man who is addicted to making false 999 calls.

David starting making hoax calls at the age of 14, and after three years of raising false alarms, was detained in a psychiatric hospital.

"I would feel powerful at the point I approached the phone box, like I was in control," he tells the programme.

But his actions not only wasted the emergency services’ time, they also put lives at risk.

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Freerunning

Freerunning
The art of freerunning - urban craze

First it was skateboarding, then rollerblading, now a new craze is sweeping through the streets of Birmingham.

Freerunning – or le parkour – can perhaps be described as a form of urban athletics in which participants rush around the city nimbly navigating obstacles in their path.

Donning his crash helmet and knee pads, Inside Out’s Ashley Blake is put through his paces by Frenchman Sebastian Foucan, one of the founders of freerunning.

And after honing his technique in the gym, Ashley takes to the streets with Sebastian and local group Free2run to attempt some spectacular stunts.

But our intrepid presenter also discovers that while freerunning can be exhilarating for both performers and spectators, there are some who have concerns about its safety.

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Strange Funerals

Motorbike funeral
Last exit - unconventional funeral travel for the hearse

A motorcycle and side car, Land Rover and steam train may not be the most obvious choice of vehicles to take people to their final resting place.

But these are some of the modes of transport now being offered to those who want to arrange a funeral with a difference.

Inside Out joins the undertakers in the Midlands who are providing radical alternatives to the traditional sombre black hearse and stately limousine.

We also meet the company which is producing cardboard coffins and the man who wants to be buried in a skip.

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