Nuisance-call menace dialled 999 to sing Elvis number to nurses

IN COURT: Charles Rush.
IN COURT: Charles Rush.
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SERIAL 999 hoaxer Charles Rush started his New Year with Jailhouse Rock – after he was nicked for ringing nurses to sing them an Elvis song.

The drunken nuisance, who was slapped with a decade-long Antisocial Behaviour Order in 2005, has so far totted up 355 convictions for his bad behaviour.

In the latest incident, the 59-year-old claimed he dialled 999 to thank nurses who had treated him after turning to drink to celebrate feeling better and New Year’s Eve.

In the first case of 2015 to be held at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, the bench heard a police officer was sent to a phone box in New Bridge Street in the city at 7.50am on New Year’s Day after a report a man was making nuisance calls to the ambulance service.

He was sworn at when he stepped in to halt Rush’s call.

Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said: “The police officer asked him to put the phone down so he could speak to him and he replied ‘I want to sing Elvis songs to the nurses’ and that is what he told the emergency services on New Year’s Day.

“Perhaps the only saving grace is that this is his only breach of this year.”

Rush, who is of no fixed abode but has recently lived in Sunderland and Seaham, admitted breaching his order by making an unwarranted emergency call and being intoxicated in a public place.

His arrest meant he spent the first day of the year in cells before he went before the court yesterday morning.

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said: “On the evening of New Year’s Eve he had been genuinely taken ill and was taken to hospital where he was treated and discharged.

“Feeling much better, Mr Rush and a few friends, somebody by the name of Mr Foster, Mr Carling and perhaps also Mr Lamb and a few of his friends from the Navy.

“Unfortunately, after having a drink, he decided he wished to thank the nurses for their care, it would appear with an Elvis Presley song.

“Engelbert Humperdinck perhaps in these circumstances with Please Release Me would have been a bit more suitable.”

The bench gave Rush an absolute discharge, as he had spent a day in custody.

Rush’s first Asbo was put in place in May 2002 after an application by Durham Constabulary, with the force applying for the 10-year order after he was repeatedly arrested for being drunk and disorderly and calling 999 without good reason.