Hoax caller puts Derbyshire lives at risk by ringing 999

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Two crews attended an emergency fire call out only to find it was a hoax made by a malicious caller.

Yesterday evening, Tuesday, August 22, just before 7.15pm crews from Alfreton and Matlock attended a report of a fire from a number in Somercotes which turned out to be a malicious call.

Hoax fire calls divert fire engines away from people who may by in life-threatening situations and who need urgent help. This could mean the difference between life and death for someone in trouble.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Any hoax call is putting lives at risk and we will not tolerate our Firefighters and fire engines being sent to non-existent fires because of prank calls.”

All calls to the 999 emergency services are recorded and the telephone number being used to make the call is displayed to the emergency call handler. Any person who makes a hoax call is committing a criminal offence and if prosecuted, may face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.

Any call to Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, where the emergency call handler suspects a hoax/prank will be challenged with the following statement “If this is a false call, we are taping your voice and we will be passing this to the police, do you wish to continue?”

A text message will also be sent to any phone that we believe a hoax call has been made from. The message will inform the caller that Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service will liaise with their phone service provider to disconnect and cancel their phone contract should any further malicious calls be made.