Man jailed over hoax 999 calls

Scarborough Magistrates Court
Scarborough Magistrates Court

AN ALCOHOLIC who made a series of bizarre 999 calls has been jailed.

Stephen Reilly, 44, made 10 calls to North Yorkshire Police between June 1 and June 28, causing a police officer to needlessly visit his home in Trafalgar Square, Scarborough, on each occasion.

In one of the calls he claimed to be called Alf Ramsey at Old Trafford and said he was going to throw himself off some cliffs.

In other calls, he told the police operator that he wanted to harm himself with a Stanley knife, claimed ambulance staff had assaulted him, said his wife had abused him and asked for NHS Direct.

Kathryn Reeve, prosecuting, said that officers had repeatedly warned Reilly about his conduct and advised him to contact his doctor before they finally ran out of patience with him and seized his mobile phone as evidence on June 28.

Reilly pleaded guilty to causing the wasteful employment of police and using a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety.

Miss Reeve said: “The calls ranged from suicidal to calls of a domestic nature to him saying he hadn’t taken any medication.

“The majority, if not all of the times, the defendant has been heavily drunk and police have attended.”

The offences also put Reilly in breach of a 12-week suspended prison sentence which he was handed in February after he was convicted of common assault.

Caroline Wyatt, mitigating, pointed out that Reilly had made no further calls since June and said they had been “cries for help”.

She added: “These were not pleasant offences and they are offences that he deeply regrets.

“He was in drink and could not be rational in his thoughts.

“He does suffer with alcoholism but he is getting help from the appropriate agencies and is reducing his intake. He is doing the best he can.

“He is doing everything he can to address his problems and is trying to build a better life.

“If the suspended sentence is activated he will lose all of that help and support.”

Miss Wyatt said that the offences could be dealt with by way of a conditional discharge, but magistrates rejected her pleas.

Pamela Macfie, the chairman of the bench, said: “These offences are serious as you were given numerous warnings by the police and you persisted in causing a disruption.”

Reilly was sentenced to six weeks in prison for making the hoax calls, with an additional four weeks of the suspended sentence activated.