Idiots who hurt us all.
The sort of idiotwho dials 999 for 'a laugh' isway beyond simply having an immature, childish or misplaced sense of humour.
Todaywe report howa hoaxer called the emergency services and falsely claimed peoplewere burning to death in a house fire.
He told operators he could hear screaming from the house.
Three engines rushed to a street in Runcorn;when the fire service control room called back the numberwhich made the false call, its operatorwas met with a torrent of verbal abuse.
To add insult to injury, a further hoax call the following day sent yet another engine and crewhurtling out on awasted job.
Statistics reveal that more than 3,000 hoax emergency calls have been made inMerseyside since 2005.
Now, in a bid to educate young people, the fire service is putting tapes of some hoaxes onto itswebsite and visiting schools to play them to children.
We can only hope that the shock value gives the children pause for thought.
The fire, police and ambulance services are all stretched, often to breaking point.
Diverting them tomaliciously dreamed-up non-events almost certainly puts the lives of genuine victims at risk.
It also ensures thatwe pay more in taxes to support the services as they strive to operate under, seemingly ceaseless, strain.
If ever therewas a bona-fide case for the return of the stocks, hoax callers is it.
Perhaps theywould not find that quite so funny.