Loner made 1,800 calls to ambulance service

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A DRUNK who made 1,500 emergency calls to the ambulance service in six months has been threatened with jail.

Former taxi driver Andrew Crowther, aged 58, is believed to be the service’s most prolific prank caller and is thought to have cost an estimated £311,000 in wasted journeys.

Magistrates issued him with an ASBO which bans him from making 999 calls except for genuine emergencies. If he breaches the order he faces jail.

Mike Treharne, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates: “He is the most prolific caller within the system. In one month alone he made 180 calls.”

Crowther, of Central Drive, Calow, Chesterfield, made his calls to the East Midlands Ambulance Service, which the court heard struggled to cope with the burden of Crowther’s calls.

“It has reached a crazy situation,” said Mr Treharne. “He has flagged down passers-by in the street to call for ambulances and he has been generally drunk and abusive to crews. He has grabbed paramedics, asked them to fix his computer and even change lightbulbs and give him lifts to hospital. Then he has discharged himself, gone back home and made another call.”

Crowther admitted six specimen charges of persistently using a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety on dates between April and September. He was handed a four-week jail term, suspended for a year, and also received a one-year probation supervision order, with £85 costs.

Bob Bashforth, for Crowther, said he had been out of work since a driving ban cost him his job as a taxi driver. “When drunk and feeling lonely he rang the ambulance service as some point of human contact. His care worker has got him moved into a warden-controlled flat so he is now less isolated.”