Blacon 999 time-waster branded 'a nuisance to society'

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Chester Standard)

A LONER who made more than a dozen unnecessary calls to the police in a single month has been branded a “nuisance to society”.

Michael Neil, 50, regularly got drunk at his home on Byron Close in Blacon, Chester, between April and May this year before dialling 999 or the 101 non-emergency number.

Chester Magistrates' Court heard yesterday he also called the Countess of Chester Hospital and told them he was suicidal.

However, when police officers attended his address, he told them there was nothing to worry about and apologised for making the calls.

Neil, described to the court as “small in stature”, was handed a conditional discharge for two years and was warned not to waste the time of the emergency services again.

Jillian Kirkbride-Wright, chairman of the bench, told him: “We take this very seriously. You really are a nuisance to society and you are stopping people who are really sick from getting through to the services that they need.”

She reminded Neil of a recent TV documentary that focused on the impact on the emergency services of time-wasters and nuisance calls.

Head bowed, he said: “I'm sorry.”

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said Neil had made 13 nuisance calls in the four weeks from April 16 this year.

In the most recent spate, a call was made on May 14 after which PC Kelly Birch visited the defendant's home to offer advice about inappropriate use of the 999 number.

But the next day Neil called both the police and the city hospital, saying he was suicidal. Police forced entry to his home only to find him drunk and apologetic.

On May 15 police received an anonymous call from a mobile phone, which was later traced to the defendant, and then a second call shortly afterwards.

He was arrested and made full admissions about the calls in his interview with officers, claiming he was not an alcoholic but “liked a drink”.

Steve Coupe, defending, said the phone calls had been made when Neil was “feeling low in mood, sometimes in his own mind feeling suicidal”.

An ongoing argument with a neighbour had affected his mental health and Mr Coupe stressed the calls made by the defendant were not hoax or prank calls.

After being released from the dock, Neil, who has 15 convictions for 33 offences, apologised again to the court for his actions.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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