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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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‘Lives at risk’ from hundreds of hoax calls in Cumbria

HOAX callers are risking the lives of residents across Cumbria, with hundreds of malicious calls made in just 12 months.

The stark warning comes from fire service bosses after a Freedom of Information request revealed there were more than 330 malicious calls made to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service in 2013.

Figures show that 233 of these calls were classed as “abandoned” – where the caller hangs up.

Firefighters responded to more than 50 malicious calls.

Another 47 were challenged under a new procedure which entitles call handlers to question the caller if they suspect the call may be false.

Bob Nixon, head of operational support for Cumbria Fire Service, said the number of calls crews across the county had responded to highlighted the very real dangers.

“Hoax calls put lives at risk by potentially diverting fire engines that could be needed at real emergencies,” he stressed.

“People might think making these kind of calls is a harmless bit of fun, but it’s a highly reckless criminal offence that can easily have fatal consequences.”

No action was taken against anyone responsible for last year’s 332 malicious calls.

However, the fire service says it is continually investigating cases of this nature.

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