Silly 999 calls 'tie-up' emergency lines and prevent callers with genuine emergencies from getting through, a senior officer has warned.
The fresh warning comes after a recording of some of the more inappropriate calls was released by Leicestershire Police.
They included one man who wanted to return some trainers, and another who wanted to know whether he could go for a run with his girlfriend wearing swimwear.
Supt Adam Streets, head of the force's contact centre and control room, urged people to think carefully before dialling 999.
– Supt Adam Streets, Leicestershire Police
We want the public to think very carefully before dialling 999. This is for genuine emergencies only and it is extremely important that my call handlers aren’t tied up dealing with calls like the ones we have highlighted.
Such calls can put people’s lives at risk.
Alternatives for non-emergencies include the 101 number, or the Ask the Police website.
A litany of ludicrous 999 calls has sparked a fresh warning from Leicestershire Police over the appropriate use of the emergency number.
The force has released recordings of some of the more ridiculous calls.
In one, a woman complains that she needs to use the toilet while stuck in traffic on the M1, and wants permission to drive down the hard shoulder.
Another caller wants to know whether he and his girlfriend can legally go for a run in their swimwear.
An operator can be heard telling one of the callers off towards the end of the audio, informing him what exactly the 999 number should be used for - and it's not for returning trainers.