CHESHIRE Police have revealed that they receive thousands of non-emergency calls to 999 each year.

The misuse of the 999 emergency number can put lives at risk.

Ahead of New Year’s Eve, which is one of the busiest times of the year for call handlers, supervisor Julie Haines issued a warning to the public.

She said: “It could be one of your family who is waiting for that 999 call to be answered. It could be the longest time of your life waiting for someone to pick up so we can get you the help you need.

“As soon as we get the call we have to get it issued and someone on their way within four minutes so the sooner you can get through to us the better.

“It’s important that we keep the line clear for genuine emergencies. I know it’s difficult as there is often a wait on 101 so people get frustrated and call 999.

“Another common reason may be because they haven’t got any credit as 101 is 15p whereas 999 is free –instead of doing the correct thing and topping up their phone they call 999.  “We have an email address as well for people with non-urgent calls.

“Please keep those lines clear for your hard-working police operators.”

Here are just some of those time-wasting calls to the force:

  • A woman called 999 to order sniffer dogs to her home to find her missing cat. She told the call handler that this was the least she deserved as she pays the highest band of council tax in the county.
  • It is arguably one of the biggest votes of the year according to this time-waster who rang to complain that they had been unable to vote in the X Factor final.
  • A man called to report his friend to the fashion police as he was wearing a blue shirt and black jeans.
  • A panicked caller dialled 999 to report that their Costa Coffee card was missing and asked what the police were going to do about it.
  • An animal lover called to report an injured squirrel, shortly after they asked the call handler if they had the number for Chester Zoo.
  • A motorist called asking for advice as their car wouldn’t start.
  • Another caller reported a UFO sighting. It later turned out to be a flashing light on a crane.
  • One caller had no signal so dialled 999 in need of advice.
  • A hungry customer reported to police that they were unhappy as they had been delivered the wrong pizza.
  • One person called 999 as he had lost his wallet