HOAX 999 callers have been slammed by firefighters after falsely reporting fireworks had been put through the letterbox of a Blackburn home.

The call, made from a phonebox at 7.30pm on Friday, also informed emergency services there was smoke coming from the front door of the house in Whalley Range.

Watch manager Rob Birtwistle, from Blackburn fire station, said two crews were tied up for 15 minutes while the call-out was investigated.

He added: “If there had been another fire in Blackburn, fire engines would have had to come from Darwen or Accrington, which could have been a dangerous 10-minute delay. Our headquarters do check to see if calls are malicious, but these callers sounded very plausible.

“Malicious calls can cost lives and I urge people to think about that before they consider acting so irresponsibly.”