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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Inappropriate 999 calls to police
A mother who dialled 999 because her son would not get out of bed is one in a series of inappropriate emergency calls that Essex Police has received.

The 999 system is 70 years old this year, which the force is marking by issuing some of the strange calls it has received.

One woman dialled 999 after a night out because she wanted someone to talk to.

Another caller wanted to know the weather while one woman said her hamster was trapped behind a wardrobe.

Woman asking for police to take her home as she had no money
Caller wanting to know what time the fireworks display was in Romford
Woman asking police to remove a spider
Ch Insp Nick Lee said: "These calls may seem amusing but the callers are clearly misusing the 999 facility.

"We are using the anniversary of the system to get the message across that by making hoax calls, hanging up, or by using the service for anything other than its function holds up callers with genuine emergencies.

"The public should only be calling 999 in emergency situations. These include where a person has been seriously hurt, or about to be seriously hurt, and situations which require immediate police action."

There were 13,193 calls that were not genuine 999 calls between August 2006 and August 2007, which represents 10% of the total 999 calls to Essex Police.

People misusing the 999 system will be advised of what constitutes an emergency and persistent callers will be liable to prosecution.

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