No clowning about: Public urged to avoid time-wasting 999 calls


Police are warning the public not to make time-wasting 999 calls after they received complaints of cold kebabs and noisy foxes.

Scotland Yard said Christmas and new year is the busiest time of year for the emergency services, and nuisance calls waste valuable resources.

The Met Police have released a list of 10 of the worst offenders, including a caller who wanted to know where to get a bacon sandwich, and another who was angry that clowns were selling balloons for £5 each.

One average the Met Police receive more than 4.5 million calls a year to the 999 and 101 numbers.

Chief Superintendent Pippa Mills, head of the Met's command and control, said: "This is just a sample of inappropriate calls received by our operators this year.

"Callers who do not have an emergency may prevent others who require our immediate assistance from getting through to us. This presents a real risk to our ability to respond to genuine emergency calls."

She said 999 should only be dialled in an emergency, and if the complaint is not an emergency 101 should be called.

Ten time-wasting calls made to the Met Police were:

:: A woman called to say she had bought a cold kebab and the shop would not replace it

:: Callers who missed their alarm and were going to be late for a flight wanted officers to take them to the airport

:: A woman who had seen a clown in London selling balloons for £5 each, which was much more than other clowns were charging

:: Callers in distress because their low fuel indicator light had come on

:: A man called to say his 50p coin was stuck in a washing machine at his local launderette and wanted police to retrieve it

:: A man who did not have change for a parking machine claimed staff at a car park had kidnapped him because they were refusing to let him out for free

:: A caller dialled 999 at 4am on a Saturday morning and asked: "Where is the best place to get a bacon sandwich right now?"

:: A man called 999 as he was advised to call 111 but didn't know the number

:: A woman wanted police to deal with a couple of noisy foxes outside her home as they were preventing her from sleeping

:: A woman dialled 999 to say there were men in her house trying to take her away. The men in question were police officers who had come to arrest her