THE North West Ambulance Service has warned people who abuse 999 that they will be prosecuted, after an East Lancashire man was given a five-year ASBO for feigning heart attacks.

Derek Sergeant, 51, of Dunoon Drive, Blackburn, went to a hospital department over 70 times in the last six months, each time playacting, and has now been banned from abusing staff or calling 999 unless it is a genuine emergency.

Director of Emergency Services at NWAS, Derek Cartwright, said: “This man knew what to say to get a fast emergency response.

“Derek often absconded before the ambulance arrived at the scene or ran off when he got to hospital, but more often created problems for staff in the rear of the vehicle, becoming violent, whilst en-route to A&E.

“This was utter mindless use of an emergency service. Whilst crews were busy dealing with him they could have been prevented from getting to someone who really needed help.

“I’d like to thank all the ambulance crews who continued to report instances of Sergeant’s abuse of the service which has, ultimately, led to this sanction.”