Police issue advice for 999 calls over Christmas: "Where is the best place to get a bacon sandwich right now" is not an emergency

Catherine Neilan
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It might feel like it, but it's really not a matter of life-or-death (Source: Getty)

"Where is the best place to get a bacon sandwich right now?"

This question might seem like an emergency of epic proportions to some people (especially those who have overindulged the night before) but it's really not a matter of life-or-death.

However it is just one example of a number of mind-boggling phone calls made to the emergency service number 999 during the Christmas period in the past.

The service has also received a call from a woman who had bought a kebab, only to discover it was cold. The shop would not replace her kebab.

Other less-than-critical calls include people who had slept through their alarm and were going to miss a flight - they wanted officers to take them to the airport - and a man whose 50p had got stuck in a washing machine at his local laundrette.

One man even called 999 because he had been told to call 111 but didn't know the number. One woman called to complain that a clown was selling balloons for £5 - much more than other clowns selling the same items.

These may have seemed like major issues to the caller - but police are urging the public to use the emergency service line sensibly over Christmas and New Year, which is its busiest time.

The non-emergency number is 101, which can be used to report a less important crime or disorder, or if there is a general police-related enquiry, such as a stolen car or damaged property.

That still means no bacon sandwich queries.

Chief superintendent Pippa Mills, head of the Met's command and control, said: "This is just a sample of inappropriate calls received by our operators this year. Callers, who do not have an emergency, may prevent others who require our immediate assistance from getting through to us. This presents a real risk to our ability to respond to genuine emergency calls."

She added: "We want Londoners to have a safe and enjoyable festive season. In the event that officers are required, we need calls to reach us swiftly. I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that, if it is not an emergency, then please dial 101, our non emergency number."