A man who told his girlfriend he had been kidnapped so he could stay out late at a house party sparked an overnight missing person’s search in Bolton.
The 32-year-old, who has not been named, has been fined for wasting police time after the “foolish and irresponsible” claim on 22 August.
When his girlfriend called as he partied at a friend’s house at 6.30pm, she was told by a person answering the phone that he would not be allowed to leave until he paid a £50 debt, Greater Manchester Police said.
She was sent a text a short time later saying he would be home shortly but when the couple next spoke, he claimed he was being held against his will.
His girlfriend, who police said was “beside herself with worry” he would be hurt, quickly called the police.
The ensuing manhunt resulted in house-to-house enquiries, reviewing of CCTV footage to track his movements, mobile phone analysis and house searches.
It was not until police arrested a man on suspicion of kidnapping that they were told it was a “ruse” so he could stay out drinking.
The “suspect” was released without charge and officers found the errant boyfriend still at the house party, in Daubhill, at 1.20am.
Detective Inspector Jo Clawson, said: “The man’s girlfriend was absolutely beside herself with worry and genuinely concerned that he would come to harm.
“Rightfully, based on what she knew at the time, the matter was reported to police.
“Considerable resources and time then went into finding this man, who it transpires made the entire thing up so he could stay out and party.
“This is without doubt one of the most foolish and irresponsible incidents I have been involved in.”
DI Clawson said the saga took “significant resources” off the streets on a Friday night, one of the busiest times of the week, and he was “lucky” not to be charged.
“We feel we have wasted enough time and resources on him already and not only has he been fined, this matter will be recorded as a criminal conviction on his record,” she added.