Two 10-year-old girls are today being "spoken to" by police after it emerged that a 999 call apparently made by a three-year-old claiming her mother was unconscious was a hoax.
West Yorkshire Police spent more than 24 hours searching for the youngster and her mother after the caller told the ambulance service she was locked in her home in Leeds with her unconscious parent but did not know her own address.
Unusually the number that made the call was not identifiable and could not initially be traced. Eventually the mobile call was traced to Bridlington, East Yorkshire, where the two girls were identified.
Earlier police had appealed to the public to help find a girl calling herself Ellie who had called 999 to report that her mother had fallen and could not be woken up at their home in Leeds.
The girl said she was three years old and that her mum was called Stacey Hall. She said she was locked in her home and did not know her full address. Despite extensive enquiries since the call was made at 10.53am yesterday police were unable to trace her or her mother.
The child said she lived in Leeds, her house number was 23 and the street name had "Court" in it. She said her grandparents lived in Bridlington.
The police released a four-minute recording of the call, which lasted 33 minutes, in an attempt to identify the girl.
A team of detectives from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, had attempted to trace the family, including checks on police systems, hospitals, and the public register of births. A number of people called Stacey Hall were traced and eliminated from the inquiry before the search was called off when police confirmed the call was a hoax yesterday afternoon.
Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Griffin, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “We are pleased that our investigation has shown that we don’t have a vulnerable little girl out there with her mum collapsed beside her, although it is obviously incredibly frustrating that this has turned out to be a hoax.
“We are very grateful to the public and the media for all the support they have given us in appealing for information over this incident. We treated the call as genuine on the basis of what was said what could be established in the initial stages of the investigation. Our priority is always to help the public and protect life as was our overriding focus in this investigation.
“This incident again highlights how misuse of the 999 system can cause significant unnecessary work for the emergency services who have limited resources to deal with genuine calls for help from members of the public. We hope it will help to remind people of the serious consequences of misusing the 999 system.”