A Northern Ireland man called 999 to complain his local Chinese takeaway wasn’t answering the phone, police have said.
It’s understood the caller told the operator it was an emergency situation and he wanted to order a meal.
But instead of getting his usual from the restaurant, the hungry man was instead visited by a local PSNI neighbourhood officer to inform the time-waster that the service was reserved for emergencies only.
Details of the latest nuisance 999 call were revealed by the PSNI in Newtownards — who posted the details on its Facebook page.
In recent months several ridiculous 999 calls have hit the headlines right across the UK.
Earlier this year one caller in England was prosecuted after phoning police 23 times to ask for a lift from Hartlepool to Stockton.
According to recent figures, more than one in five calls made to 999 in Northern Ireland were not for emergencies.
During 2010, around 28,500 callers had requested everything from assistance getting into bed to treatment for a toothache.
It’s estimated nonsense and hoax calls cost the Northern Ireland economy £3m a year. Between 2006 and 2008 there were also some 26,000 hoax or possible hoax calls reported — yet only a small number of those callers were charged.
Just 13 people were convicted of making hoax calls against Northern Ireland’s emergency services over the three-year period. A police spokesman said that “every time the emergency services receive a hoax” it means “they are not available when someone could really need their help”.
“In a lot of emergencies, time is important and even a minute could be the difference between saving a life or losing one.”
Policing Board member Conall McDevitt MLA said all hoax calls made to emergency services should be treated seriously, and those behind them prosecuted.
“The emergency services operate on trust and it is a basic contract — when you phone, you need them,” the SDLP man said.
“People who break and abuse that are committing an offence. They should be prosecuted for this and it’s not something we should be taking lightly.”