PEOPLE are wasting police time by phoning their control room with bizarre queries.
Late buses, a mysterious tortoise and a horse giving birth are some of the issues that have prompted people to phone North Yorkshire Police needlessly.
The force has given The Press exclusive details of some of its strangest calls and urged people to only ring 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergency police-related matters.
Some of the unnecessary calls are from confused people, but others are from time wasters who should know better, say police.
Chief Inspector Mike Walker, who works in the Force Control Room, said: "The 999 system is crucial in allowing us to respond to people who may be in life or death situations or if a crime is in progress. Time spent dealing with callers who are using the system inappropriately, could mean a call handler is not free to deal with an emergency, potentially leading to a tragic outcome.”
Ten of the strangest calls to North Yorkshire Police:
1 - Where's my bus? - A MAN phoned 999 at 9.35pm on April 17 this year to tell police he was at the bus stop at Monks Cross near Sainsbury’s and there were no buses running. He said he was "quite fed up" by this. Not as fed up as the police, one suspects!
2 - I've no money! - A MAN phoned 999 because an ATM had retained his bank card, and he "needed it", said police. After brief questioning, the call handler established the card had been kept "due to a lack of funds in the account" and advised the caller it was not a police matter, and he should speak to his bank. The caller said: "The police have keys for all addresses and should be able to attend, enter the bank and retrieve the card for me.” A nice idea, that would surely have made every police raid in history unnecessary?
3 - Car boot crisis - A CALLER recently rang 999 to ask whether there was still a car boot sale in Whitby on Wednesdays. What could they have been so desperate to buy or sell?
4 - Tortoise mystery
Operator: “Police Emergency”
Caller: “I’ve found a tortoise in my back garden that isn’t mine.”
5 - Furry fury - A CALL handler answered a 999 call to hear a young boy crying.
Caller: “My mum’s stolen my hamster.”
Operator: “Why has she done that?”
Caller: “'Cause I’ve been a naughty boy.”
6 - Waste of time! - A CALLER phoned 999 recently to ask: “Is 1600 hours the same as 4 o’clock?” Oh dear!
7 - Horsing around? - SOMEONE phoned police from Whitby Abbey, to tell them they were concerned about a horse in the adjacent field, which was giving birth. Could an officer be sent to assist, they asked? They did at least use the 101 number instead of 999 - but we suspect veterinary skills don't yet form part of the police training manual.
8 - A carry-on - A WOMAN phoned 999 from York Station after she and her children were asked to get off a train because they did not have the correct tickets. She phoned 999 "so they would sort it out for her" because she "had a lot of luggage and needed to get to London".
9 - Abandoned by mum! - A WOMAN phoned to report a birds' nest next to her window. She was concerned because the mother bird had been away from the nest for some time, and the chicks had been left alone.
10 - Hello, hello, is that Andy Murray? - Last year, call handler received a silent 101 call. They kept the call on the line until they finally heard a voice, which sounded surprised they were speaking to the police.... It turned out they were trying to find the tennis on BBC1 - but had mistaken the phone for a remote control.