A 999 call hoaxer who abused operators 800 times has been jailed for three months.

Tracey Ford’s calls to the ambulance service alone cost in the region of £22,000.

This included two ambulance visits to her home in which she was not taken to hospital.

Ford, 48, from Pitsea was jailed today at Basildon Magistrates Court having previously been found guilty after a trial. 

Ms Annobil, chairman of the magistrates' bench, said: "We are sending you to prison because the offences are so serious we feel a custodial sentence is justified.

"We are also imposing compensation of £100 to the police and ambulance service.

"We are adding a criminal behaviour order for five years.

"Due to your means we are waving costs and victim surcharge."

Speaking after her conviction, Chief Insp Matt Crow, head of the Essex Police force control room, said: “A hoax or nuisance call really can impact on the safety of someone calling us in an emergency.

"We will robustly deal with anyone misusing the 999 system, as demonstrated in this case, which should serve as a warning to those who make malicious or nuisance calls to the emergency services."

Dr Tom Davis, medical director for East of England Ambulance Service said: “In cases such as this, it is not acceptable to waste time and resources that could be used for helping critically ill patients.”

Ford, of High Barrets, Pitsea, was charged with two counts of persistently using the public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety.

The 48-year-old denied the offences but was convicted following a trial at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Friday March 8.

Alexander Deacon, mitigating, said Ford has since stopped making the
calls, adding: "She does appear to have learned her lesson."

She has also received a Community Behavioural Order (CBO) which will last for 5 years and has two conditions which, if broken, is a criminal offence and could lead to a custodial sentence.

The first condition is that Ford must not call the 999 emergency service number unless there is a genuine emergency that would require immediate attendance from the emergency service receiving the call. 

The second condition states that Ford must report a minor crime, incident, illness or injury herself, but must use a third party to make contact on her behalf if there is a genuine reason for the call.

In addition, if any contact is being made with an emergency service, Ford must not use foul, offensive, abusive or threatening language or make false claims. 

Ford rang the ambulance service 391 times between June 9, 2017 and June 9, 2018 and 75 times between November 20, 2018 and January 17 this year.

She called Essex Police more than 261 times between August 1, 2018 and January 17 this year, and more than 146 times between February 8, 2018 and August 7, 2018.

This does not include calls she also made to the non-emergency number 101.