Sunderland nuisance 999 caller jailed after his 52nd conviction

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A 999 nuisance has been jailed after clocking up his 52nd conviction for making hoax calls to the emergency services.

Ian Parkin was already on a suspended sentence for ringing 999 without a good reason when he made his latest false calls.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard the 31-year-old pest has been wasting the police’s time with prank calls since 1999.

His latest were on March 18 when Parkin rang the police to say he had been assaulted.

Officers showed up to help him but found there hadn’t been any assault and he admitted making it up.

He was warned about making hoax calls but an hour later he rang 999 again to see he had a knife – which again turned out to be false.

Stephen Littlewood, prosecuting, said Parkin had told the 999 call handler “I have a big knife, so come next to us”.

He added: “When police attended the area, they found the defendant sat on the bench opposite the phone kiosk and no knife was found on him.”

Parkin, of Stockton Road, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to one charge of making a telephone call, where information was false, to cause distress or anxiety.

The court heard he had a 16-week suspended prison sentence hanging over his head and had 51 previous convictions.

Joanne Gatens, defending, asked the court to consider that a mental health problem might cause his behaviour.

She said: “He was aware of the suspended sentence hanging over him and that leads me to wonder if there is more reason other than a compulsion as far as these offences are concerned.”

Mrs Gatens told the court that the threat of prison had not stopped him from ringing 999 and he appeared to “crave the attention from the police.”

The probation service told the court that Parkin had already completed a course to address alcohol issues.

District Judge Roger Elsey activated eight weeks of his suspended sentence and gave him another eight-week prison sentence for his latest conviction, to run concurrently.

He said: “I’ve come to the conclusion that what causes this offending is your repeated heavy drinking and that you are drinking to excess on these occasions.”

Speaking after the case, Superintendent Alan Veitch, of Sunderland Area Command, said: “Any malicious call which wastes police time and prevents officers from helping people in genuine need can potentially put lives at risk.

“The emergency services have to prioritise how they deal with calls and the main issue for us is how such hoax calls could cost lives in a real emergency situation.

“We take incidents of this type seriously and will prosecute when we have the necessary evidence.

“We’d also like to remind genuine callers that the number to call for non-emergencies and to speak to a local officer is 101.”