Humberside

Hoax ambulance calls in Lincolnshire cost £62,000

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) said hoax and "inappropriate" 999 calls in Lincolnshire cost the service £62,000 last year.

The service said calls included somebody who wanted help defrosting a turkey and another who wanted to give staff a Christmas card.

Steve Pratten, operational support manager, said figures were based on the £208 cost of dispatching an ambulance.

Mr Pratten said the problem was increasing due to mobile phone use.

Pet budgerigar

EMAS, which covers the south bank of the Humber, said: "It's not only demoralising to our staff when they turn up to a hoax call but it has a negative effect on the rest of the public who might have to wait for an ambulance."

Other examples included a crew called out to a breathing difficulties case who discovered the patient was a pet budgerigar.

In another incident, someone called 999 because it was raining and they "did not have a coat."

Another crew were asked to sort out a patient's gas bill after they had a panic attack.

Mr Pratten said that in some cases, offenders would be prosecuted.

He said "For the people who are malicious and hoax callers we do have the facility to track down those calls, even if it is from a mobile and even if it is from a withheld number."

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