Boy, 13, held in probe into 100 hoax calls to gas and emergency services
A 13-YEAR-OLD Derby boy has been arrested for allegedly making hoax calls that cost the National Grid £6,000.
The teen, who is from Oakwood, was held after more than 100 hoax calls were made to police, fire service, East Midlands Ambulance Service and the power provider this year.
Police say that whoever made the 60 calls to the National Grid would claim there had been a gas leak at properties in Oakwood and Chaddesden.
Engineers would investigate, often disconnecting and reconnecting gas supplies and closing roads.
It is alleged that the hoax caller also called the police 30 times with false reports of crimes and made calls to the fire and ambulance service.
PC Rich Price, of Spondon safer neighbourhood team, arrested the teenager, who has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
PC Price said: "Whoever is responsible for the hoax calls would dial the National Grid and tell them there was a gas leak. Most of the addresses the engineers were called to were in the Oakwood and Chaddesden areas of Derby.
"The National Grid have told us that this one hoax caller has cost them somewhere in the region of £6,000.
"This is from the costs of the call-outs, road closures, and disconnecting and reconnecting of gas supplies."
PC Price said the power provider told police they are duty-bound to investigate each report of a gas leak three times before it can be classed as a hoax.
He said the 13-year-old boy was arrested on February 20.
Chief Inspector Tracy Harrison, of Derbyshire Police's control room, which takes 999 and 101 calls, said: "On February 20 a 13-year-old boy from the Oakwood area was arrested on suspicion of wasting police time.
"Calls were received from a mobile phone, 30 of which were to the police's 999 and 101 numbers.
"The calls varied in content from silent calls to requests to false reports of burglaries, fights and thefts from vehicles.
"We will always take positive action against people making bogus calls to the emergency services as their calls affect genuine calls."
A spokesman for the National Grid said: "Our legal department was contacted regarding a lot of phone calls covering two streets in close proximity. Investigations to identify the caller revealed a young person's voice. Information suggested the same caller had phoned other utilities and emergency services.
"Estimates put calls from this individual to the gas emergency number at 50.''