Hoax calls were made to paramedics 100 times over the last two years, it has been revealed.
Shocking figures obtained by the Post under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the already stretched North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) received 100 calls classed as hoaxes from the Wigan area, between July 2015 and July 2017.
Emergency services call handlers even dispatched ambulances to the fake emergencies 25 of those times, for reasons ranging from breathing problems to bomb scares.
The vast majority of requests for ambulances were cut short, with 69 instances of calls being abandoned. But seven of these mid-call hang-ups still resulted in paramedics racing to nonexistent scenes.
But there were more concerning reasons for bogus calls, with ambulances being sent out following two descriptions of sexual assault, and even a couple of false reports of bomb/security alerts.
There were also two fake pleas for help with stabbing or gunshot wounds. These resulted in NHS resources being wasted once again as call handlers dispatched ambulances, taking no chances after such serious claims of injury.
An NWAS spokesman said: “Making a 999 call for anything that isn’t a life-threatening or serious emergency simply puts lives at risk by taking up valuable time and resources for not only ourselves, but also our emergency service colleagues.
“Our emergency control centres handle over 3,000 emergency calls every day and only a relatively low number are hoax calls compared to the number of calls for real incidents.
“However, any call that is not a medical emergency can prevent or delay ambulance crews getting to the genuinely sick people who are in the most need for urgent help.”
NWAS are not the only arm of the emergency services who have to deal with time-wasters. In March this year, police launched a hunt for a malicious caller who sparked a massive emergency operation at a derelict Wigan mill.
Crews from THREE different fire stations rushed to the Pagefield Building to reports of a huge blaze.
Emergency services wasted an hour dealing with the incident, which easily could have delayed their response to genuine incidents.
All calls to emergency numbers such as 999 are recorded and can be traced and mobile phone service providers all co-operate with the authorities to provide numbers used to place malicious calls.
In some circumstances hoax calls can have their phones disconnected for repeat offences.