'Help, police – I've run out of toilet roll'
Running out of toilet roll and difficulty ringing a Chinese takeaway were just some of the frivolous calls that clogged up 999 police lines this year.
Emergency call handlers in Devon and Cornwall are urging the public not to dial 999 unless it is a real emergency.
Operators have released a flavour of some of the idiotic enquiries they have had to bat away to allow genuinely urgent calls to get through.
One entry on the police log read: "Just received a 999 call from a male saying 'I have run out of toilet roll'."
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A caller ringing on Christmas Day just after 7am wanted to know if officers would drive him home. According to records the call was "received from sober-sounding male outside Exeter police station asking for a lift back to Crediton".
Naturally, officers told the man politely the answer was 'No'.
But undeterred, the caller went on to explain he had spent all of his money and due to it being Christmas was struggling to get home.
About a month ago one operator took a 999 call from a woman who explained she had been trying to contact her local Chinese takeaway but found they were not answering.
She said she had dialled 999 to ask the operator if he or she knew if the takeaway had closed down or moved premises. The woman finished off the call by stating she had no concerns for the people running the business, she just wanted some food.
Devon and Cornwall Police call handlers are highly trained to deal efficiently with emergency situations and tackle thousands of 999 calls a year.
A police spokesman said fatal consequences could result from reckless or irresponsible use of the emergency 999 telephone.
He said: "We would urge people to think carefully before calling 999.The number is there for a reason."
"If life is at risk or offenders are nearby then the 999 number should be used."