NORTH Wales Police is appealing for people to use their emergency service wisely in the run up to one of the busiest periods of the year.

A report regarding a lost bus pass, being sold the incorrect mobile phone top up and a stray sheep on a farmers’ yard are just some of the examples of the 999 calls North Wales Police have received over recent months.

The information has been made public to help reduce the amount of unnecessary and inappropriate calls made to the Joint Communications Centre in St Asaph.

On average North Wales Police receive 230,000 calls a year of which 68,000 are 999 emergency calls.

Temporary Inspector Gary Lloyd, force incident manager at North Wales Police, said: “Each unnecessary call to us reduces time available for calls which are for genuine policing matters.

“Phoning 999 – which is an emergency line, for trivial matters such as telling us a taxi hasn’t turned up is a complete waste of resources, and could possibly prevent a genuine life or death emergency call being put through."

Previous examples of inappropriate calls and emails made to North Wales Police included a request for advice regarding a possible broken ankle and a man who was looking for help in tracing a girl he had met on holiday.

Temporary Inspector Lloyd added: “We would particularly like to remind people that we are not a taxi service. We receive a lot of calls at this time of year from people who want a lift home, often because they haven’t left themselves enough money to get home themselves; that call could stop someone who genuinely requires an immediate police response from being able to get through to us.

“We do have powers to prosecute people for misusing the 999 system and if people are found to consistently making hoax calls they could face prosecution."

Officers are also highlighting the 17,000 abandoned 999 calls which have been made to the control room so far this year.

Temporary Inspector Lloyd added: “Each abandoned 999 call places pressure as they have to be investigated to ensure the safety of the caller. We appreciate that accidents do happen, that children can hit buttons whilst playing with their parents’ phone, or it accidentally sets off whilst in someone’s pocket, but the impact of hundreds of dropped 999 calls a day adds up.

“Our advice is simple - if you call 999 by accidents and the call is answered, please explain what’s happened. It will only take a few seconds and will enable the call to be cleared with no issues.”

It can be hard to judge what is or is not an emergency, but in general, you should call 999 if a life is in danger or someone is being physically threatened, or if you are witnessing a crime happening at the time, or think the offenders are still nearby. You witness or are involved in a serious road traffic collision where someone is badly injured, or other vehicles are causing an obstruction or a danger to other road users

Otherwise calls should be made to the non-emergency line, 101 (calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles cost 15p per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long you call lasts).