A POLICE force has released a recording of a man making a hoax call after revealing it has received 853 other fake calls in the last six months.
It’s estimated that police and other emergency service responses to the calls have run into thousands of pounds.
Now police are trying to trace a man who made five malicious calls including one saying there was an ongoing theft in progress.
He made the calls in the space of two days between Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday, December 20.
The phone has since been disconnected from its network but Cleveland police are hoping someone will recognise his voice as he tells of a cable theft which never happened.
The man first called on December 19 at 11am and then again at 11.50pm and 8.10pm regarding made-up crimes in Middlesbrough and Thornaby, near Stockton.
The next day he called two more times, at 4.25am and 5am, alleging other incidents in Middlesbrough. He gave his name as both David Andrews or Andrew Williams during his calls. Police responded each time by sending police officers to the scene.
Investigating officer, PC Anthony Gamesby, from Thornaby Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Those who make hoax calls to the police service prevent and delay genuine emergency calls coming through to our operators.
“Making hoax phone calls can potentially put lives at risk and it is completely unacceptable.”
A police spokeswoman added: “In the last six months we have had 853 hoax calls.
"It is fair to say that the cost of hoax callers can potentially run into thousands as it is possible that all resources available to us, including the force helicopter, could be utilised in response to a hoax call.
"It only takes one hoax call to take resources away from a genuine emergency, which could cost lives."
Last December, Cleveland Police revealed it had also been plagued with people calling 999 to make inappropriate calls.
Examples included a woman ringing 999 to say she placed an order with a takeaway restaurant and when it arrived the order was wrong.
One man used the number to state he didn’t know how to use a fax machine and another called to ask for the latest Middlesbrough FC result.
Anyone who may have information regarding his identity of the latest hoax caller is asked to contact PC Anthony Gamesby on the non-emergency 101 number or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.