A HOAX call to say a person was trapped in a car after an accident has been condemned by the fire service.
The call was made at 7.45pm yesterday from a public telephone box.
The caller informed Hampshire police that two cars had crashed in Selbourne Terrace, Southsea, and that one person was trapped in one of the vehicles.
Police passed the message on to both the fire and ambulance service, which sent out crews.
But on arriving, crews found no sign of an accident.
Southsea fire crew manager Chris Rogers said: ‘We were called out to a two-car collision, which had left one person trapped in the car.
‘We were informed by the police, who originally got the call.
‘We dispatched two appliances and there was also an ambulance on site.
‘But when we got there, there was nothing.’
Mr Rogers added: ‘Malicious calls like that can seriously reduce our response time to real emergencies.
‘It could even affect whether a life is changed or not.
‘When someone dials 999 the number is automatically recorded and a record is kept.
‘We then have a log if we get callouts from the same number over and over.
‘If someone calls from a mobile then we can go through their network provider and send them a warning to stop.
‘If they persist we can have their phone blocked or they can be prosecuted.’