Wales

Police: 999 caller asked where to get Brussels sprouts

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Media caption'It's not an emergency but a sheep's in my yard'

A 999 caller rang police to ask where they could buy Brussels sprouts.

Welsh police forces said they had also received calls about a lost bus pass, a stray sheep and a refund for a mobile phone top-up card.

Police bosses urged people not to misuse the emergency line during the already-busy Christmas period.

It comes a month after the Welsh Ambulance Service said it received non-emergency 999 calls for hiccups and a sore bikini line in the last year.

North Wales Police said its received about 230,000 calls a year, of which 68,000 were 999 emergency calls.

It said the line had also been used for a number of non urgent calls this year:

  • A farmer rang to say say he was "fed up" with a stray sheep in his yard.
  • A man called to say he had lost his bus pass.
  • A customer called to say shop staff would not issue a refund for a mobile phone top-up card.

"Each unnecessary call to us reduces time available for calls which are for genuine policing matters," said temporary Insp Gary Lloyd.

Image caption People have been asked to call police on 101 rather than 999 if it is not an emergency

He added the force was "not a taxi service" although it regularly received calls over the Christmas period from people in need of a lift home, "often because they haven't left themselves enough money".

North Wales Police is also highlighting the fact that it has received 17,000 abandoned 999 calls so far this year.

Each one has to be followed up to "ensure the safety of the caller", said the inspector.

South Wales Police said non urgent 999 calls, like the person who phoned about where to buy sprouts, "put lives at risk".

And Dyfed-Powys Police asked people to "make the right call", saying 101 should be dialled rather than 999 if it is not an emergency.

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