A MAN who called out emergency services in an effort to help him recover lost property from a flat in Stockport has been arrested.
According to police, the man falsely claimed a flat he wanted to get into was on fire, just so the emergency services would help him recover the property.
The 48-year-old man was arrested by police in Stockport on Friday for misusing the 999 system, after his hoax call meant two fully crewed fire engines, a double crewed ambulance and three police officers had to needlessly attend the flat, tying them up when they could have been attending a real emergency.
The man made the call from a flat on Lincoln Towers at about 8.50am, reporting it was on fire and the building was engulfed in smoke.
However, when the emergency services attended he was found dancing and joking in his front room with no sign of any fire whatsoever.
Earlier that morning, the same man phoned Greater Manchester Police to report that a family member had some property in a flat but the occupants were not answering the door.
It was politely explained to the man that officers were tied up dealing with other serious incidents and that given the non-urgent nature of his call, there would a delay in a patrol attending at his flat to assist them.
The man did not accept this response and repeatedly asked for officers to attend sooner before stating he would do something to make police attend quicker. Shortly afterwards the hoax call was made.
Police Constable Jamie Jeffries said: “At a time when there are increasing demands being put on the emergency services, hoax calls like this simply serve to put even more strain on our resources and divert us away from real emergencies.
“Quite simply, this man was unhappy we would not send an immediate patrol to his flat to help him recover some lost property. In frustration, he fabricated a totally malicious story about a fire just so that emergency services would get their quicker.
“Any time a call about a fire is made, it has to be taken seriously given the potential risks to people’s lives which is why both ourselves and the other emergency services attended so promptly. You can therefore imagine how angry everyone was to find there was no such fire and it was all a ruse.
“This is no laughing matter. It was not a prank. It tied up more than 10 emergency services personnel who could otherwise have been dealing with a real emergency and someone in genuine need of help. It is no exaggeration to say this hoax call put the lives of other people at risk.
“This man will now be interviewed and the consequences of his very foolish actions will be explained to him. The courts take a very dim view of this reckless behaviour so I would urge anyone thinking of making a hoax call to think twice before you both endanger the lives of others, and endanger your own liberty.”