A man who called 999 more than 3,000 times to make sexual comments to call handlers, report false crimes and complain about GP waiting times, has been sentenced.
Leonard Lowe, of Appletree Way in Wickford, appeared at Southend Magistrates Court on Thursday (September 21) after admitting abusing the 999 emergency line.
The 65-year-old was arrested on June 22 after Essex Police had received 3,007 calls from him using three numbers over the course of six months - costing the force more than £20,000.
None of the calls made my Lowe required an emergency response, the force says. 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 June 23 with persistently making use of a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience, or anxiety.
He has now been jailed for 10 weeks and issued with a criminal behaviour order. The order bans Lowe from calling 999 unless he is reporting a genuine emergency.
He was also ordered to pay £300 in compensation.
Superintendent Bonnie Moore, 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.”