A cold-calling company that spammed people with a "staggering" 46 million nuisance calls has been dealt a record fine by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Prodial Ltd, based in Brighton, was fined £350,000 by the regulator - its largest ever fine.
More than 1,000 people complained to the ICO about the automated calls, which played recorded messages relating to payment protection insurance (PPI) claims.
One complainant said they felt "helpless" that they could do nothing to prevent the "intrusive" messages.
A doctor who was targeted said the volume of unsolicited calls was hindering their ability to answer the phone in the case of an emergency.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: "This is one of the worst cases of cold-calling we have ever come across.
"The volume of calls made in just a few months was staggering.
"This was a company that knew it was breaking the law.
"A company director admitted that once the ICO became involved, the company shut down.
"That stopped the calls, but we want to send a clear message to other firms that this type of law-breaking will not pay.
"That is why we have handed out our highest ever fine.
"No matter what companies do to try to avoid the law, we will find a way to act."
The company has since been placed into voluntary liquidation and the ICO is working with liquidators to recover the fine.
The regulator has also ordered three Manchester-based companies to stop making unsolicited calls, one of which was operating out of a Grade II listed cottage.