Hoax caller cut off
A HOAX caller who tried to lead Penzance firefighters on a wild goose chase got more than he bargained for when Devon and Cornwall Police got the prankster's mobile phone cut off.
A fire engine from Penzance Community Fire Station was first called out to a report of a kitchen fire at an address "opposite Rosevean Road" in the town on 10.23pm on Saturday night.
Officers spent half an hour criss-crossing streets in the area trying to find the fire before being called back to the station by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Control as a series of other calls came in.
Firefighter Charlie Jamieson from Penzance said: "We turned a pump out to Rosevean Road and searched for the property but could not find it. We were checking out every street around that area."
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However it became apparent that the series of calls were hoaxes – or "malicious calls" – all coming from the same mobile phone number and as the night wore on, Cornwall Fire and Rescue decided to take further action.
They contacted Devon and Cornwall Police who then requested that the mobile phone provider cut off the phone.
A spokesperson for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: "Because making hoax calls is a criminal offence, Devon and Cornwall Police were informed and a request made to the telephone company to have the telephone disconnected and the number rendered useless. This was achieved a few minutes later.
"To stop persistent hoax callers abusing the 999 system, there is the facility to use this breach to have the contract terminated immediately."
Charlie Jamieson said: "Hoax calls take up time. A hoax call holds up a fire engine. We were lucky control only sent one to this report because if both Penzance engines had been sent it would have left the whole town without cover for half an hour."