Letchworth man charged with making hoax 999 calls

A MAN has been arrested and charged with making 11 hoax emergency 999 calls to the police in the space of 24 hours.

Douglas Chapman, 47, from Phoenix Drive in Letchworth GC, was charged by Hertfordshire Constabulary with persistently making use of a public electronic communications network for the purposes of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.

The offences are believed to have occurred between August 22 and 23.

Mr Chapman was arrested on August 23 and has been police bailed until Monday, September 5, to appear at North Herts Magistrates’ Court.

Jason Baxter, assistant manager at the force communications room for Herts police, said: “If we believe someone is persistently making hoax calls to the emergency 999 service, we will always endeavour to pursue legal action against them.

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“Hoax calls can prevent genuine emergency callers from getting through to police, needlessly putting their lives or property at risk. In some cases, it can also mean valuable police resources are diverted away from those emergencies as well.

“With our new non-emergency number 101, it is now easier than ever to ring us about police matters which are not of an urgent nature. Calls cost 15p for the duration of the call, or alternatively the landline number 01707 354000 is also still available.”

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An emergency is defined by police as an occasion when there is a risk of injury to someone or a risk of serious damage to property, you suspect a crime is in progress or there is a serious incident which needs immediate police attendance.

If there is no emergency, people can also contact their neighbourhood team numbers - available via www.herts.police.uk - as an alternative to ringing 101.

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