Teenage girl’s hoax calls caused Northamptonshire police control room to ‘collapse’, court hears

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A teenage girl made so many hoax calls to Northamptonshire police she caused its control room to “collapse”, a court heard.

The girl, who cannot be named because of her age, made more than 150 nuisance calls in one night that either claimed someone’s life was in danger or were sexually explicit, Croydon youth court heard.

Magistrates heard she made 60 calls to the Northamptonshire force and 100-plus to the Metropolitan Police on February 7, 2015.

The teenager made the calls with another girl who was not charged.

Aimee Emby, prosecuting, said the overwhelming number of calls caused the Northamptonshire control room to “collapse”.

She said: “This had a significant impact on their ability to respond to genuine calls.

“All calls were of a hoax nature alleging serious threat to life, some were sexually explicit or simply deemed by operators annoying or harassing.”

The Met call centre was able to continue to function as it has a larger capacity.

Later in the year, over two days in May, the court heard the girl made several calls to the Sutton Police Safer Schools office, threatening to turn a police officer “into ashes” and using his first name and address

In the early hours of May 19, she made nine phone calls during which she played music down the phone.

Ola Yusuf, defending, said the teenager, had shown remorse for her actions for which she took full responsibility.

She pleaded guilty to three charges relating to hoax calls and was sentenced to a six month rehabilitation order, a six month supervision order and a six month mental health treatment requirement.

Speaking in court, she said: “I’m sorry. I feel pretty bad. They didn’t deserve it.

“I have learnt how it affects other people, I feel guilty. I don’t want to do it again.”

Magistrate Carole Markham said: “You are getting lots of help from lots of people and you need to make sure you learn from all those people because, if you don’t, you’ll spend a lot of time in prison.”

She added: “I hope you understand how serious this was and how seriously it affected people who couldn’t get through.”

The girl was prohibited from contacting police officers without supervision and was given a 36-hour activity requirement.

Mrs Markham awarded £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, and the teenagers parents also received a six month parenting order.

Northamptonshire Police said after the case that the hoax calls caused delays in picking up 999 calls but it did not ‘drop’ any callers. Instead, some people were routed to the Leicestershire control room.