A WINCHESTER man has been jailed after dialling 999 and abusing call handlers.

Anthony Walters, 55, of St John’s Road, was jailed for ten weeks following a hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Monday.

Magistrates also imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) on him, which will last for five years and prohibits him from calling the police or other emergency services, unless in an emergency.

Evidence used to support the CBO application included some 49 hours of calls he made to 101 and 999 in a 12-month period from November 1, 2017.

A spokesman for Hampshire police said the hours were spread across more than 2,000 individual calls.

Sergeant Ed Hurst, from Winchester’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Anthony Walters now has a CBO imposed against him by the courts for his flagrant disregard of the 999 emergency number.

“His persistence in continually abusing this service, and verbally abusing our staff, has seen him rightly punished.

“We take this type of offence extremely seriously, and I hope this is a stark reminder to those who seek to misuse 999 and 101 that there will be serious consequences to their actions.”

The court heard that Walters’ offence was aggravated by his record of previous offending.

At a previous trial, he had been found guilty of persistently making use of a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety.

The court were told that Walters dialled the 999 number several times between December 15 and 18 in 2017.

During the calls, Walters used aggressive and abusive language, unrelated to an emergency.

Sergeant Hurst added: “What might seem like a joke to some people can have a serious impact on the ability of emergency services to help those who are genuinely in need.

“The more time that is spent by our call handlers dealing with hoaxes, pranks, and abusive phone calls means that people trying to report an ongoing crime or a medical emergency are less likely to have their voices heard.”