Nuisance callers have clogged New Year emergency phone lines in South Yorkshire – with one person dialling 999 pretending to be Frank Gallagher from television show Shameless.
As thousands celebrated New Year’s Eve in pubs, clubs and at house parties last night, police had to deal with a number of time-wasters.
South Yorkshire Police were expecting to deal with extra nuisance calls on one of their busiest nights of the year – and took the opportunity to reveal some of the time-wasting calls they received at the same time last year.
The force said one of the calls they got was from a man pretending to be unemployed alcoholic Frank Gallagher, a character from Channel Four TV show Shameless.
A spokesman said the nuisance caller had done an impression over the phone ‘with the noise of a loud house party in the background.’
Other nuisance callers rang 999 to ask for lifts to parties and to complain about taxi fares.
One man asked the police to drive him from Crookesmoor in Sheffield, to his home address around a mile away in Walkley, to see in the New Year with his family.
Another person rang up asking for a lift from Doncaster to Pontefract because there were no more buses running.
Shortly before 3am on New Year’s Day, a man called police to ask if officers could drive his drunken girlfriend back home to Derby, and another caller rang to say he’d lost his house keys.
Police also received a call from a ‘hysterical’ woman complaining that a taxi driver had asked her to pay her fare up front.
Head of Force Communications Tracy Potter said: “We plan resources in advance in order to manage the high number of calls and incidents, which we expect.
“When people call 999 or 101 for non police incidents, like the examples above, it wastes valuable time and means people with genuine calls have to wait longer to get through to us.
“We are here to help everybody, but please think before you call us. We have a job to do and don’t want to stop genuine incidents from coming through to us.”
Paramedics also had one of their busiest nights of the year as Yorkshire Ambulance Service responded to callouts across the region.
To help reduce pressure on hospitals, community medical units were set up and police and paramedic teams were on patrol in Sheffield city centre last night.
Speaking ahead of the festivities, Dr David Macklin, executive director of operations at the ambulance trust, said it was expected that staff would be ‘on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse’ due to similar incidents on New Year’s Eves in the past.
He said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will prosecute anyone who is offensive towards our staff, who are there to help people in need.”