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Nuisance caller convicted after bombarding police with 999 calls & being verbally abusive to staff
04 Jun | 13:03

Ashleigh Tighe, 36, of Sunderland, pleaded guilty to two offences and was handed 16-week sentence, suspended for two years

A nuisance caller has been convicted of bombarding police with calls to 999 and being verbally abusive to staff.

Ashleigh Tighe made 54 calls to Northumbria Police over the course of last year claiming she had been a victim of numerous crimes including assault, harassment and theft.

But Tighe, 36, regularly failed to attend appointments after reporting the alleged crimes and was found to be intoxicated and abusive towards operators on several occasions.

Tighe was warned in July 2018 about her misuse of the police’s telecommunication system, and was talked to following a number of complaints made to officers about her behaviour towards neighbours.

But the warning was not heeded, and Tighe - who phoned 101 and 999 more than 20 times between August and December – was subsequently served with a Community Protection Notice.

After the nuisance calls continued, Tighe was later charged with one count of persistently making use of a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety, and one count of failing to comply with a community protection notice.

Earlier this year (February 16), Tighe appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside who heard her behaviour constituted an “unnecessary use of police resources”.

Tighe, of James Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to both offences. On May 24, she was handed a 16-week sentence, suspended for two years, and handed a five-year restraining order preventing her from contacting two individuals.

Superintendent Paul Stewart, of Northumbria Police’s Communications Department, said: “Hundreds of calls come into our communication centres every single day and we want to be able to deliver an outstanding service to everyone who gets in touch.

“While the overwhelming majority of calls we receive are genuine and made in good faith, there are some occasions when individuals abuse the 999 and 101 numbers and make nuisance calls.

“The last thing we want is for people to have to wait on the phone to speak to one of our call handlers, but this type of unhelpful behaviour can have an inevitable impact on how quickly other emergency calls are answered.

“We would always ask the public to work with us so that we can ensure those unfortunate enough to be involved in serious incidents can receive police assistance as quickly as possible.”

Magistrates were told Tighe contacted police just days after being handed a Community Protection Warning in July 2018 claiming she had suffered a broken arm following an alleged assault. However, it later emerged that she sustained the injury falling off a wall.

Over the next few months, she reported a number of other crimes but failed to attend subsequent appointments, and on one occasion claimed she “couldn’t remember” why she had contacted police.

Tighe was served with a Community Protection Notice in October 2018 , which she refused to sign.

In February this year, she was charged with breaching the notice, as well as for persistently making use of a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety.

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