Wickford man jailed after unnecessarily calling 999 more than 3000 times

A man has been issued with a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order and sentenced to time in prison, after repeatedly calling Essex Police’s Force Control Room.

Leonard Lowe, 65, of Appletree Way, Wickford, appeared at Southend Magistrates Court on Thursday September 21 after pleading guilty to abusing the 999 emergency line.

He was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison and issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order. The order prohibits Lowe from calling 999 unless he is reporting a genuine emergency.

He was also ordered to pay £300 in compensation.

Lowe was arrested on June 22, after Essex Police had received more than 3000 calls from him using three numbers over the course of six months.

None of the 3007 calls made my Lowe required an emergency response. During these calls, Lowe would make sexually explicit comments to call handlers, report false crimes and complain about GP waiting times.

He was charged on June 23 with persistently making use of a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience, or anxiety.

Superintendent Bonnie Moore, Head of Contact Management said:

“Our enquiries showed that Lowe’s misuse of the 999-emergency number had cost the force over £20,000 but most importantly, had affected how quickly we were able to answer calls from people who genuinely needed us.

“Our Force Control Room is extremely busy and our handlers and dispatchers work hard to answer calls as quickly as possible to help people across Essex and catch criminals.

“We take instances where this service is abused very seriously and will not tolerate behaviour like this.”