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25 April 2019, 12:45 | Updated: 25 April 2019, 12:47
A woman who rang 999 hundreds of times and verbally abused call takers has been sentenced to three months in prison.
Tracey Ford rang Essex Police and the East of England Ambulance Service more than 873 times on the emergency line.
She reported offences to police on just three occasions and an ambulance went to her home twice but she did not need hospital treatment.
The rest of her calls were not emergencies and her calls to the ambulance service alone cost in the region of £22,000.
Ms Ford, of High Barrets, Pitsea, was charged with two counts of persistently using the public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety.
The 48-year-old denied the offences but was convicted following a trial at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Friday 8 March.
She was sentenced today, Thursday 25 April, to 12 weeks imprisonment for both counts, with one to run concurrent.
She has also received a Community Behavioural Order (CBO) which will last for 5 years and has two conditions which, if broken, is a criminal offence and could lead to a custodial sentence. The first condition is that Ford must not call the 999 emergency service number unless there is a genuine emergency that would require immediate attendance from the emergency service receiving the call.
The second condition states that Ford must report a minor crime, incident, illness or injury herself, but must use a third party to make contact on her behalf if there is a genuine reason for the call. In addition, if any contact is being made with an emergency service, Ford must not use foul, offensive, abusive or threatening language or make false claims.
Ford rang the ambulance service 391 times between June 9, 2017 and June 9, 2018 and 75 times between November 20, 2018 and January 17 this year.
She called Essex Police more than 261 times between August 1, 2018 and January 17 this year, and more than 146 times between February 8, 2018 and August 7, 2018.
This does not include calls she also made to the non-emergency number 101.