A STAGGERING 1,194 hoax calls were made to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service last year,

While this is a reduction of 31 percent on last year's figure, police have warned that this is still an unacceptably high number of malicious calls that continue to endanger people's lives.

Jennie Griffiths, Head of Fire Control at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Malicious callers are not only an enormous drain on resources but their thoughtless behaviour endangers the lives and safety of the public.

“Firefighters must respond to every emergency call that is made.

"If they arrive at an address and find out that it's a hoax, it may delay them from attending a serious emergency incident, where they may be needed to rescue someone trapped in a house fire or road traffic collision.

"It might even be someone you know."

Dewi Jones, Head of Fire Crime Unit at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service commented: “It is illegal to make a hoax emergency call.

"If caught and prosecuted, these individuals may face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison. They could also have their phones cut off.

"Due to the successful campaigns we have run over recent years, we have seen a reduction in the number of hoax calls. However, we still receive an unacceptable number of malicious calls.”