Avon and Somerset Police spent nearly 400 hours dealing with abandoned calls in one month.Read more
Police 999 calls
Police say reports of a rotting chicken and a dog with missing fur are examples of the 999 system being misused.
A 999 call operator has met the family that she talked through childbirth.
Coughing or tapping '55' on the key pad after calling 999 will summon the police when you are unable to talk.
Northumbria Police is reminding the public to "consider the needs of others when calling 999" after a woman phoned to complain about her shopping.
The warning comes after she called to report that a supermarket didn't apply the correct amount of discount when she bought two bottles of squash.
The caller later confessed that she rang the police because she was unable to get through to customer services.
Chief Supt Neil Hutchison said: “Calls like these might seem harmless and even funny, but they create a huge demand on the staff working in the communications centre who could otherwise be busy dealing with genuine emergencies.
“We hope that the public can work with us so that we can make sure those people unfortunate enough to be involved in serious incidents can receive police assistance as quickly as possible.
“We would also like to make it clear to people who call our emergency lines and waste police time that their behaviour is completely unacceptable.”