Sunderland woman who made 54 calls claiming to be crime victim warned she faces jail

A Sunderland woman is facing jail after making more than 50 often ‘intoxicated’ calls to police claiming she was a victim of assault, harassment and theft.

Saturday, 16th February 2019, 8:55 am
Updated Saturday, 16th February 2019, 8:57 am
The case was dealt with in South Shields at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Ashleigh Tighe, of James Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to 54 calls she made to Northumbria Police on the 999 and 101 service over the course of last year. 

The 35-year-old made a string of claims that she was victim to numerous crimes including reporting a bicycle stolen from her garden, harassment and assault but then refused to speak to officers.

Laura Croft, prosecuting, told magistrates in South Tyneside: “She’s made 54 calls to police by the 101 and 999 numbers. She makes reports that she is a victim of a crime and 16 of these calls have led to an appointment where she’s then failed to be present. Time is then spent trying to contact her.

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“It’s an unnecessary use of police resources. She denies having contacted police or doesn’t engage with them.”

She tols the court that, in numerous calls to police, Tighe was ‘intoxicated and abusive’ towards operators and in July last year she was served with a community protection notice. 

Just days later Tighe called police making reports of an assault where she suffered a broken arm. It later emerged she had broken her arm falling off a wall. 

The court heard that Tighe made calls reporting her locks being glued, bottles thrown at her windows, her garden gate being damaged, a bicycle stolen and that she was being harassed.  

Ms Croft said it could be classed as ‘major disruption’ and ‘a lot of police time was taken up’ dealing with Tighe’s claims.

Tighe admitted one count of persistently make use of public communication network to cause annoyance/inconvenience/anxiety and one count of failing to comply with a community protection notice. 

The court heard Tighe can be ‘erratic’ and that she has a drink for which she is currently receiving support.

The case was adjourned for a probation report to be made but was warned by magistrates that she may be sent to prison.

She will appear before court for sentencing on March 6. 

Superintendent Paul Stewart, of Northumbria Police’s Communications Department, said: “Hundreds of calls come into our communication centres every single day and we want to be able to deliver an outstanding service to everyone who gets in touch.

“While the overwhelming majority of calls we receive are genuine and made in good faith, there are some occasions when individuals abuse the 999 and 101 numbers and make nuisance calls.

“The last thing we want is for people to have to wait on the phone to speak to one of our call handlers, but this type of unhelpful behaviour can have an inevitable impact on how quickly other emergency calls are answered.

“We would always ask the public to work with us so that we can ensure those unfortunate enough to be involved in serious incidents can receive police assistance as quickly as possible.”