Police in Brixham have appealed to parents to speak to their children following a number of hoax 999 calls made from the Higher Brixham area.
Police say the calls appear to have been made by young people after school has finished.
Police are investigating the calls, warning that the offence can carry a six month prison sentance or large fine.
A spokesperson for Brixham neighbourhood police team said: “Over the last two weeks, the Police have received a number of hoax calls around mid afternoon from the Higher Brixham area. All calls appear to be by young people after school has finished.
“Misusing the 999 system and dialing it for non-emergency matters to report crimes or emergencies that do not exist can cost lives. Inappropriate calls slow down our response to genuine emergencies by tying up an operator. This stops genuine callers getting help and places the lives of others at risk.
“How would you feel if a member of your family was unable to get the help they required because the police, fire or ambulance services had been called away on a hoax call?
“All calls to the emergency services are recorded and we can always trace the number, even if the call is made from a withheld number or public phone box. If you are found to be making a hoax call you could be fined or even sent to prison.
“We appeal to all parents to speak to their children about the serious dangers of making a hoax call. Some children do not realise the danger they are placing others in and may see it as part of a practical joke. Your children need to be aware that if they make hoax calls they are endangering other people’s lives. We are investigating this spate of hoax calls and looking at CCTV in the local area. Misuse of 999 and hoax calls are a criminal offence. Offenders could face a maximum penalty of up to six months in prison or a fine of £5,000.”
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