Hyndburn Fire Station has received more than 100 hoax calls over the past five years, it’s been revealed.
Figures obtained by the Observer show that 112 hoax calls have been logged with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – tying up 119 fire engines and more than 500 firefighters.
So far this year 16 malicious false alarm calls have been made - involving 26 pumps and 115 crew.
Hyndburn council leader and former retained firefighter Miles Parkinson has hit out at those who make prank calls to the emergency services.
He said: “Any malicious call to any emergency service is a waste of their resources and costs money. They also aren't available for an actual incident so other resources have to be called in.
“Who in this day and age in their right mind would make hoax calls when these services are overstretched as they are with measures being imposed on them by financial cutbacks?
“At certain times it is more prevalent, particularly around bonfire night, but it's no laughing or joking matter.
“These people can now be traced to their mobile phones or phone boxes and end up at the magistrates court.”
The number of hoax calls fell to just 14 in 2011/12, but this mark has already been overtaken in 2012/13.
The fire service described hoax calls as ‘beyond belief’ and said they cost lives.
A spokesperson said: “Fire engines and crews cannot be in two places at one time and hoax calls can, and do, cost lives.
“A number of years ago, a five-year-old from Blackpool died in his home when fire engines were sent on a hoax call just when he needed them.
“It’s beyond belief that even with such tragic evidence as this there are still people who are prepared to put someone else’s life on the line.”
Conservative group leader and Lancashire fire authority member Coun Peter Britcliffe said hoax calls were a “dreadful” thing to do.
He said: “If there is one call it is one too many but the fact there have been 112 calls means it is a problem.
“It’s a complete waste of public money and if there were genuine incidents at the same time it could jeopardise those and put people’s lives at risk.
“I would appeal to anybody who knows anybody who does this to call the police as it really is a dreadful thing to do with an emergency service.
“Resources are precious at all times and this isn’t a resource that should be misused.”