A MAN with mental health and alcohol issues repeatedly telephoned emergency services using the 999 service.

Blackburn magistrates heard as well as blocking the emergency line Lance Cook's actions caused the waste of a lot of police time as they searched for him.

Cook, 61, of Spring Bank Terrace, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to persistently making use of a public communications network to cause annoyance or inconvenience. He was remanded on bail until October 19 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Janice Vallance, prosecuting, said the duty sergeant starting his shift at 10pm was told about repeated threatening calls to the control room since 7pm.

"He had been told in no uncertain terms that if he made more calls he would be arrested," said Miss Vallance.

The calls continued and Cook said he had a knife, threatened to burn down the police station, said he was in Witton Park naked and he was going to hang himself and also threatened to blow up a school.

Officers who went to his address could smell smoke coming from under his door and neighbours said he often set fires inside his flat.

"Officers forced entry and found some rubbish burning on the coffee table but the defendant wasn't present," said Miss Vallance.

Cook was eventually arrested as he returned home at 4.40am, more than nine hours after the first call.

Damien Pickup, defending, said his client had a number of mental health issues and an alcohol addiction.

He said Cook believed a child he had fathered many years ago had been taken into care and he had tried repeatedly to make contact with that child.

"He has always been upset about that and when he gets upset he drinks alcohol," said Mr Pickup.

"Under the influence, he feels he is not getting anywhere and he rings the police."

Mr Pickup said none of the threats his client made where ever going to be carried out.

"In the cold, sober light of day he knows he shouldn't do this," said Mr Pickup.