Mary Berry and James Bond queries among most bizarre calls made to councils


Asking for help with a Great British Bake Off dish and trying to answer a crossword clue about a James Bond villain are just two of the quirky calls received by council call centres in the last year.

The Local Government Association (LGA) revealed some of the bizarre queries taken by the customer service hubs, which handle more than 50 million calls each year.

While most of the calls are about council tax and parking, the LGA - which represents more 370 councils in England and Wales - said some of the inquiries had left staff scratching their heads.

They included an elderly lady who called Staffordshire County Council because she could not name James Bond's cat-loving nemesis, Blofeld, for a seven-letter crossword answer.

A Great British Bake Off fan called Somerset County Council to find out the size of tin needed for Mary Berry's strawberry tart, while a Stevenage Borough Council caller asked how much water was needed to cook super noodles.

A resident in Somerset asked for the rules and regulations for mouse racing, while another caller asked for advice on what to do if you eat an out-of-date pork pie.

Nottinghamshire County Council was offered a cat by a resident who claimed it was a nuisance, while another resident asked whether the authority knew their lost holiday romance who lived in the area.

Peter Fleming, deputy chairman of the LGA, said: "These light-hearted examples of calls highlight the variety of issues that councils deal with every day - from the slightly amusing to the outright bizarre.

"Call centres are vital to the successful delivery of council services and even if they do feel as though they are outside their remit, council call centre staff will always try their hardest to assist where they can.

"But whilst councils offer more than 800 services, some requests are simply beyond them. The fact that councils are so often the first port of call for residents who are seeking a solution to their problems shows just how central a role councils play in the lives of their communities."

Here is a list of the LGA's top 10 bizarre calls:

:: Do you know how much water I need to cook super noodles? (Stevenage Borough Council)

:: What are the rules and regulations for hosting a mouse race? (Somerset County Council)

:: Can I exercise my kestrel on your tip? (Nottinghamshire County Council)

:: A call from an elderly lady asking for help on her crossword. Seven letters, James Bond's cat loving nemesis, begins with B? (Staffordshire County Council)

:: What is the daily room rate at the Holiday Inn express? (Stevenage Borough Council)

:: What size tin is required for the Mary Berry strawberry tart featured on the BBC's Great British Bake Off? (Somerset County council)

:: I met a boy whilst on holiday in Ibiza, but I've lost his number. He said he lived in Nottingham and his dad is a bin man, do you know him? (Nottinghamshire County Council)

:: How many geese are on the boating lake in Cleethorpes this year? (The caller wanted to visit but had an allergy to feathers - North East Lincolnshire Council)

:: What time does your website close? (Poole Borough Council)

:: How high is Mount Kilimanjaro? (Somerset County Council)