Wickford: Man sentenced after unnecessarily calling 999 over 3000 times
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A man has been issued with a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order and sentenced to time in prison, after repeatedly calling Essex Police’s Force Control Room.
Leonard Lowe, 65, of Appletree Way in Wickford appeared at Southend Magistrates Court on Thursday, 21 September after pleading guilty offences abusing the 999 emergency line.
Lowe was arrested on 22 June, after Essex Police had received over 3000 calls from him using three numbers over the course of six months.
None of the 3007 calls made my Lowe required an emergency response. During these calls, Lowe would make sexually explicit comments to call handlers, report false crimes and complain about GP waiting times.
Following his arrest, he was charged on 23 June with persistently making use of a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience, or anxiety.
He appeared at Southend Magistrates Court on Thursday, 21 September after pleading guilty and was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison and issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order. The order prohibits Lowe from calling 999 unless he is reporting a genuine emergency.
Lowe was also ordered to pay £300 in compensation.
Superintendent Bonnie Moore, Deputy Head of Contact Management said:
“Our enquiries showed that Lowe’s misuse of the 999-emergency number had cost the force over £20,000 but most importantly, had affected how quickly we were able to answer calls from people who genuinely needed us.
“Our Force Control Room is extremely busy and our handlers and dispatchers work hard to answer calls as quickly as possible to help people across Essex and catch criminals.
“We take instances where this service is abused very seriously and will not tolerate behaviour like this.”
Essex Police are there to help those who need us the most. we are continuing to see an increase in people ringing 999 for something that isn't an emergency. Just 20% of the calls we are receiving to 999 actually need an emergency response.
We are asking people to think about whether they need to call 999. Or if another way of getting in contact us would be better.
For more information on how you can contact us in a non-emergency, visit our website: