CAMERAS are set to be installed in two phone boxes after a string of hoax calls were made to the emergency services from children.
Lancashire Constabulary and North West Ambulance Services have received 21 calls from the phone boxes in Burrell Avenue and North Valley Road, Colne.
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Each time emergency services have been sent to the scene, they have found that no incident has occurred.
Thirteen hoax calls were made from the Burrell Avenue phone box and eight calls were made from the booth in North Valley Road.
Police believe that young children are behind the spate of prank calls, which have increased over the summer holidays.
PC Mark Walker, of Lancashire Police said: “We think that these calls are being carried out by children, but we are determined to find them, whoever is doing it.
“They may think that they are being funny, but these calls can cost lives.
“Everytime that the emergency services are called to a scene, we have to attend and going to these two addresses over the past month has taken up a lot of our time and a lot of the ambulance service’s time.”
PC Walker and his colleges are now in talks with BT to install the CCTV cameras to catch the perpetrators.
PC Walker added: ”Each call is different. Sometimes they are saying that they have been harmed and need police assistance, other times they have said they’ve witnessed a crime in the area. It is detrimental to the police and ambulance service and it has to stop.” In 2012, police installed a camera in a phone box in Albert Road, Colne, after a significant volume of hoax calls.
A BT spokesman said: “We’re always willing to work alongside policing teams to prevent the misuse of our payphones – especially when the misuse results in the diversion of vital emergency services.”
Derek Cartwright, Director of Operations for the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Hoax calls undoubtedly can put lives at risk by preventing genuinely sick people from getting the help they need.
“Anyone who thinks making hoax calls to the emergency services is acceptable should consider that it is a criminal offence and we can trace calls from unknown or blocked numbers. There have been occasions when individuals have been prosecuted and jailed, or received an ABSO, for continually making hoax calls to emergency services.”