Oddball nuisance caller used 999 as a ‘free sex line’… ringing 1,180 times

November 10, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

A nuisance caller who phoned the ambulance service over a thousand times to use them “as a free sex line” has been banned from dialling 999.

Oddball John Wainwright, 43, cost the taxpayer almost £30,000 by making a staggering 1,180 hoax calls to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) in just one year.

A court heard during August alone he bombarded them with 550 calls – the equivalent of one every ten MINUTES.

In some of the conversations with call handlers he would say he loved them while in others he would claim to be possessed by the devil.

On most occasions the timewaster would simply use 999 as a free sex line, Nottingham Magistrates Court was told.

Wainwright, from Arnold, Notts., pleaded guilty to two counts of improper use of public electronic communications on October 31.

JPs ordered him not to call the service unless in a real emergency until he is sentenced at the same court on December 9.

Deborah Scothern, who is in charge of tackling serial callers for EMAS, said they reported Wainwright to police after attempts to help him in the community failed.

She said: “In very few cases there was cause to send an ambulance and he didn’t need to go on to hospital – it’s purely down to his misuse of alcohol really.

“Sometimes he will just call and say I love you and other times he will suggest that he is possessed by the devil, but he seems able to turn that on and off.

“He also uses 999 as a free sex line, to be frank.

“The thing about it is that in that period in August when he was at his worst he would be calling every ten minutes.

“There are only so many people in the control room taking calls and people are trying to get through on the 999 line.

“It’s taking vital care away from people who need it who may be having a heart attack or a stroke.”

The ambulance service has worked out how much Wainwright cost the NHS based on how much the service is given by health bosses to cover each call and ambulance sent.

Ms Scothern added: “It’s something that needs to be addressed, not only to protect ambulance staff but also people who need to call 999.

“While an ambulance or call-taker is with that particular person someone else could be having a heart attack or a stroke and there are a really finite number of ambulances and call-takers.

“These type of people tie us up for long times.”

One former Nottinghamshire paramedic and EMAS manager, who did not want to be named, said nuisance callers had a big impact on staff morale.

He said: “It is demoralising – the job is incredibly busy.

“It’s frustrating their skills are being wasted on people who want to waste time or have a problem EMAS can’t deal with.

“It has got worse. People are phoning and have social problems. Alcohol issues have come to the fore over a number of years.

“They need more psychiatric counselling as well as prosecution – they don’t know who to turn to.

“If someone is proven to be a nuisance caller, going to court is a good thing, but there are an awful lot of people who need follow-up help in the community.

“It should be someone outside the ambulance service taking the strain.

“From a crew’s point of view you think ‘not again’ – you have to respond on blue lights.

“You put yourself and the public at risk and that effect on morale is a problem.”

Martin Gawith, from charity Healthwatch, said after the case: “We recognise that there may be patients and carers that may require more than the average support and we fully support this, but we cannot condone such a waste of resources that also puts other citizens at risk.

“Where there is a need, callers need to be able to easily access effective treatment and support to prevent situations such as this.’’

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