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Man made hoax armed raid call

Blackpool Police

Blackpool Police

A man who was angry police would not come to see him about his stolen phone lied to police, telling them there was an armed robbery in progress.

Gavin Preston made the false call because he was furious an officer would not turn out to investigate after he went to a party where his wallet and phone were taken.

Preston, 30, of Arundel Drive, Carleton, pleaded guilty to making nuisance phone calls and being drunk and disorderly. But he has been spared going to prison.

Instead, he was sentenced to a 10-week curfew from 9pm to 7am, put on 12 months’ supervision and ordered to pay £85 costs plus £60 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said Preston, who was drunk, rang police and said he had had property stolen at a party on November 30 at 7am.

He said he not remember the address where the party had been held, so he was advised to make a statement the next day.

Shorty afterwards police got a call to say an armed robbery was taking place at Fleetwood’s One Stop convenience store and three people in balaclavas were walking along the port’s Poulton Street holding suspicious items.

But when officers arrived Preston shouted at them: “It’s about time. I lost my phone and you did nothing about it. I pay your wages.”

Steven Townley, defending, said Preston was annoyed no officer was going to go out and investigate the theft of his property, so he foolishly made up a story about an armed robbery.

Today a spokesman for Lancashire Police said: ““The 999 service exists for people to report emergency incidents to the emergency services, for the police it could be a crime in progress or where life or serious injury is at risk.

“People using this service for any other reason is simply unacceptable and can delay the response to a real emergency. While our operators are dealing with these types of calls, people in genuine need of emergency help may be trying to get through. At best, these irresponsible calls are wasting valuable time but at the very worst, they could cost lives.

“Our message is simple: for the sake of those who genuinely need emergency help, please do not abuse the 999 system.”

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