Hoax 999 caller ‘wanted to talk’

A MAN smeared his own excrement over the door of a police cell after being arrested for making hoax 999 calls.

Craig Tanner, 39, of Westfield Road, Hemsworth, called emergency services five times between 7pm and 11pm on Saturday, September 3, claiming there was a domestic disturbance at his house.

Pontefract Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday that police attended and were shown a broken mobile phone as ‘proof’ Tanner did not phone them. But after the calls continued, the officers returned and rang the number that the calls were coming from. The phone was found under a sofa cushion in Tanner’s flat.

Tanner was arrested and taken to Pontefract Police Station, where he told police he had been drinking and wanted someone to talk to. While in his cell he wiped the excrement over the door.

Tanner pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to sending a false message by public electronic communication network and criminal damage.

Mitigating, Linda Wood said: “He is clearly troubled and going to prison is not the right thing for him. You still have the chance to get him the help available within the community. There has been no offending since September 3 and perhaps something is beginning to twig. He has come here well dressed, well presented and has spoken to the court - he isn’t normally like that.”

Magistrates heard that Tanner was attending alcohol treatment and anger management sessions off his own back. They also heard that the offences were in breach of a suspended prison sentence but that he was complying with the Probation Service.

Tanner was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work in the community. He must pay £150 compensation for the cell door, which needed specialist cleaning.

He will also have to continue working with probation and was given a one-week residence order for breaching the suspended sentence.

Magistrates Ray Sykes said: “I cannot stress strongly enough that if you put one foot out of line you know what is going to happen.”