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Hamster bite among bizarre emergency calls in UK.

London, Aug 18 ( ANI ): Police in Britain have revealed that members of the public have been misused the 999 emergency services number to report incidents such as hamster bites and hangovers.

A woman dialled 999 from outside Specsavers to report that she could not find her glasses, according to police who disclosed a list of inappropriate "emergency" calls.

Another woman called to ask if officers could come to her house and test her plug sockets to see if they were working correctly.

When challenged about calling the emergency number rather than an electrician, she explained she had already called the fire service but they refused to help.

A third woman called 999 to say she had just got out of a taxi and left her handbag in it. The caller wanted police to follow the taxi and retrieve her bag.

The unconventional uses of the emergency number were revealed by Devon and Cornwall Police, who said 999 calls had risen by 40 percent at peak times in the last month.

The majority of the incidents reported were non-urgent, and in some cases were matters that are not dealt with by the police.

The force urged the public to "think first" before phoning the emergency number to complain about problems with utilities, noise or other minor nuisances.

In one of a number of calls about noise complaints, a man from the Helston area of Cornwall called 999 and stated it was not an emergency or a crime but more of an "annoyance" that his neighbour was playing his radio loudly.He was told to ring the local council instead.

Call handlers said they were also receiving a number of calls on busy Friday and Saturday nights from people asking for lifts home or taxi firm numbers.

Superintendent Craig Downham, head of call management and communications, warned that inappropriate use of the 999 number was putting at risk the lives of people who needed immediate assistance in a real emergency.

"There has been a marked increase in people calling 999 for non-emergencies," the Telegraph quoted Downham as saying.

"The 999 number should only be used for situations where life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby, or if immediate action is required with an urgent response. 999 should only be used in an emergency," he said.

The problem was not confined to Devon and Cornwall however.

The NHS in Wales has also revealed a list of inappropriate calls to the ambulance service in recent months. ( ANI )

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Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 18, 2012
Words:430
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