Norfolk

Hoax fire call phones 'cut off' now in Norfolk

Norfolk Fire Service is hailing the success of new software which can permanently shut down a hoax caller's mobile phone.

It received 96 hoax calls last year compared with 1,000 a decade ago.

The agreement with mobile phone operators also means cut-off callers cannot resume service without the approval of fire chiefs.

Richard McGonagle, from Norwich's city centre station, said for such callers it was "one strike and you're out".

'Frustrated' hoaxers

The control room operators are trained to spot hoax calls and equipped with technology to disable mobile phones.

A warning message is sent out if the call is believed to be malicious and it asks the person if they wish to continue.

Mr McGonagle said: "There are consequences to us and the public for making malicious hoax calls and we have a strict policy of one strike and you are out.

"We have cut several mobile phones after making arrangements with operators to disable them - especially repeat offenders."

A hoax caller's service was cut off immediately on Wednesday night in the Thetford area.

"Whoever it was woke up very frustrated if they wanted to use their phone," said Mr McGonagle.

"They will need to contact the service operator to reconnect but this unlikely because the firm will need our authority to do that."

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