Warning After Stolen Snowman 999 Call

23 May 2016, 14:26 | Updated: 23 May 2016, 14:28

Police are urging Scots to use the 999 emergency number "properly'' after one woman used it to report the theft of a snowman.

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging described the initiative as a "timely reminder'' to callers on when they should use 999 and when they should use the 101 non-emergency helpline.

The woman who dialled 999 to report a stolen snowman and a man who contacted police about a "dirty look'' he had been given by his neighbour are two of the calls police have used to highlight the issue.

There are about 2.8 million calls in Scotland made to the non-emergency 101 number and just under 500,000 emergency calls are placed to 999 every year.

Some of the other examples given by the police include a woman dialling 101 to report a large spider in her house and a man asking for advice on his under-inflated tyres.

Police have emphasised that while these calls may be amusing, they divert resources away from potentially important calls and people who require urgent assistance.

Mr Newbigging, from Police Scotland's contact command and control division, said: "Our campaign is a timely reminder to people to use 101 and 999 properly. Call handlers deal with a call every 10 seconds. They are highly-trained, skilled and knowledgeable, and are there to help.

"Most people contact the police appropriately but there are a small percentage who do not - this abuse of 101 and 999 could cost lives.

"Our message is simple - if it's an emergency, call 999. In a non-emergency situation, dial 101.''

The 101 number is available round the clock and can be used anywhere in Scotland to contact Police Scotland or any other UK force.