A CCTV camera has been installed in a phone box in Pendle after hoax calls were made to the emergency services.

Police took the step after a number of calls were made at the phone box in Albert Road, Colne.

The CCTV move is believed to be only the second time such a measure has been deployed by Pennine division police.

Fire bosses say that hoax calls are a serious problem in Pendle and Burnley which could have life threatening consequences if crews are diverted away from a real fire.

Geoff Hudson, community fire safety advocate for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Hoax calls have been a problem in Pendle and Burnley historically.

“People do not realise that they could be potentially be putting lives at risk by diverting fire crews away from real incidents.

“The types of calls that we receive vary greatly but the most common is from groups of kids or teenagers saying that there has been a serious house fire and that someone is trapped inside.

“We try to address the issue by visiting primary schools to hold talks about the dangers of making hoax calls and the role of fire crews.

“The police are very good at catching those involved by tracing phone calls and installing CCTV when necessary.”

Fire service said there had been several incidents in the past month but could not give an exact figure.

Pendle Council leader Coun Joe Cooney blasted those making nuisance calls.

He said: “The police have much better things to do than responding to people making hoax calls.

“Not only is it wasting police time and money it could also be dangerous, taking services away from people who are in need of them.

“In Colne there has also been an issue with people pressing the help point buttons which put people straight through to the central control room. There is one next to the phone box so hopefully the camera will stop people abusing that facility too.”