Hoax 999 calls including what to do with a dead squirrel, a cat with a broken leg, a drunk wanting a taxi and drowning goldfish

999 hoax calls

999 hoax calls - Credit: Archant

Paramedics revealed some of the nuisance calls they have received in the last two years – including drowning goldfish, a dead squirrel and a drunk man wanting a taxi.

Figures released by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust revealed that the service had received 1,144 irksome calls in the last two years that have diverted time away from genuine emergencies.

In Cambridgeshire there were 190 hoax calls whilst Suffolk 153 had false calls, Essex received 320 and Norfolk 174.

Among the calls was a man from north Cambridgeshire wondering what to do about a dead squirrel and another from a woman in the same part of the county inquiring about a cat with a broken leg.

Now, the trust is highlighting some of the calls as part of the ‘It’s your Call’ campaign in a bid to make people call 999 responsibly.


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Gary Morgan, head of emergency operations centres said: “Just because 999 is an easy to remember number does not mean it is acceptable for people to misuse it or treat it as a telephone directory.

“Hoax and inappropriate 999 calls have the potential to divert attention away from real emergencies and we will refer people who misuse the service to our police colleagues to take action.”

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Among those which the trust received was a call from a drunk man outside an Essex nightclub who was looking for a taxi and a child in Chelmsford who called 999 because their goldfish was “drowning”.

There was also a call about an unconscious man in a taxi who turned out to be snoring.

The campaign was launched last year which aims to inform people how 999 calls are prioritised and make sure people do not dial for help irresponsibly.

Mr Morgan added: “We’d urge the public to remember that the ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain and breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, strokes, trauma, choking and severe allergic reactions.”

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