Police say they are desperate to dispel a myth that dialling 999 can boost the battery life of a mobile phone.

One force from the Anglia region says it has received numerous nuisance calls over the past six months because people believe calling the emergency number and hanging up immediately will increase the power left on their phone.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said it simply was not true and warned the calls were taking resources away from genuine emergencies.

"This myth has been circulating for some time now and we are not the only force to have suffered from these false calls. "Calling 999 for anything other than an emergency or a non-police matter puts additional pressure on resources, ties up an operator and wastes valuable time that could be better spent helping genuine callers possibly in a life-threatening situation. "The only way to boost a mobile phone battery is to use a charger.”

Bedfordshire Police said silent or aborted 999 calls were always investigated to ensure the caller was not in any danger.

But they want to ensure they are not wasting time and resources investigating calls made by people wanting to charge their mobile phones.

Misusing the 999 number is a criminal offence. Police also have the power to disconnect mobile phones which have been used to make hoax 999 calls.