Cumbria council call centre queried on nail clippings

Image caption, Customer service advisors at Allerdale Borough Council dealt with 64,219 calls last year

Queries about recycling nail clippings and rounding up lost sheep are among the more unusual calls received by a council call centre in Cumbria.

Allerdale Borough Council has revealed that its customer service advisers dealt with 64,219 calls last year.

Most were for information on council tax, environmental services or parking, and taking payments for services.

There was also a complaint from one caller that his purple recycling bag clashed with the flowers in his border.

One customer was helping a relative clear out their house said: "They've kept newspaper by the fireplace that has turned yellow and they've put it in the paper bin, is that ok?"

Straight face

When told that it was, they asked: "And there are bits of toe nails and skin in there, is that ok too?"

Another caller reported sheep loose on the road, and requested the name of the farmer they belonged to.

One service adviser taking a customer's credit card payment asked for the name on the card, and was told: "Marks and Spencer."

Alison Miller, Allerdale Borough Council's customer service manager, said: "We try to help our callers as much as we can whether it's support and advice on the council's services, or even providing information on other topics outside of our usual responsibilities.

"Even so, there are the odd occasions when the queries tend to go a little bit too far and our advisers have to do their best to keep a straight face."

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