A TEENAGER was arrested after making 30 consecutive hoax 999 calls to police in the space of a few hours.
The 15-year-old girl made the calls, many of which were said to be threatening or abusive, on Tuesday.
While she was making the nuisance calls a genuine emergency call was taken in the Wiltshire control room from a woman who only had a few seconds to tell the operator she was in danger and her address.
Police said the consequences could have been tragic if the call handler had been delayed answering the genuine emergency.
The force also revealed it takes an average 250,999 calls a day and only a handful involve a real emergency.
Supt Gavin Williams said: “The time wasted on dealing with hoax calls can mean the difference between life and death for people genuinely trying to contact us.
He stressed: “People should only dial 999 when they require the police on an urgent basis, where there is risk to life or property or where the offenders are still at or nearby the scene of a crime.
“If people misuse the system or make hoax 999 calls then they are preventing the police from responding to real life emergency calls, which will mean that we can’t assist those people who most need our help.
“We will always seek to apprehend those people who participate in hoax calls and bring them to justice,” he warned.
The national definition of an emergency is where there is a danger to life, violence is being used or threatened immediately, or there is serious injury to a person or serious damage to a property.