A HOAX caller told 999 operators he had kidnapped a police officer and would kill them if he was not given a £500,000 ransom.

Robert Reynolds made the fake threat during a spate of hoax phone calls to Hampshire Police's control room.

It forced police chiefs to check-in with every on duty officer to make sure they were safe.

Alongside the kidnap hoax, the 25-year-old also reported a fake stabbing and a fake domestic abuse incident.

Now Reynolds, who was jailed for similar offences last year, has been jailed again, this time for eight months.

Southampton Crown Court heard how the hoax calls took place on the evening of January 3 – just a day after Reynolds was released from his previous prison sentence.

Prosecutor Victoria Hill told the court that Reynolds made 12 calls to police between 6.10pm and 9.26pm that evening.

She said: "In the first he stated that he had a police officer hostage and demanded £500,000 or said he would them.

"The reaction from Hampshire Constabulary to the first call was the check if all officers on duty were safe."

She added: "Reynolds also reported a fake kidnapping at a hotel behind the Co-op in Ocean Village."

Ms Hill said Reynolds also made two hoax phone calls of a stabbing in Queensway in Southampton.

He also made a call, under the fake name 'Shaun Looker', in which he claimed a domestic abuse incident was taking place in Charlotte's Wharf in Queensway.

The court heard that police later made repeated calls to Reynolds attempting to get hold of him following the hoax calls.

Reynolds then rang police again, this time asking to make a complaint about "police harassment".

He was arrested in Westquay on January 6 and was found in possession of the same phone used to make the 999 calls.

Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to three counts of making malicious communications, did not attend his sentencing on three occasions and was sentenced in his absence.

His barrister was also unable to fully mitigate on his behalf, as he had not been instructed by Reynolds due to his absence.

But as previously reported in the Daily Echo, Reynolds was jailed for 24 weeks for committing similar offences in 2019.

During that hearing, the court heard that during the previous spate of calls, Reynolds was “out of his mind” on a mixture of butane gas and cannabis.

Sentencing Reynolds, a serving prisoner at HMP Highdown, Judge Peter Henry said: "Police would have had to have taken it (your threat) seriously to start with.

"They had to investigate which officers were on duty and make sure were safe.

"You must have known that (what you did) would have caused fear and a considerable distraction."