Suspended prison sentence for abusive 999 caller

31st July 2020

A MAN has been given a suspended prison sentence for making abusive calls to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Mark Lewis, 49, of Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, was handed a 10-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months at Cardiff Magistrates' Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to an offence under the Communications Act 2003.

The court heard that Lewis called the ambulance service multiple times on 27 June and used foul and threatening language.

He has previous convictions for similar offences. 

The court heard that Lewis is “very lonely” and does not have any family he sees or has any friends, and was drunk at the time of the incident.

He has a neurological condition which he has had since birth. 

Lee Brooks, Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Whilst Mr Lewis lives with an ongoing condition, there is absolutely no place for this sort of behaviour in our ambulance service, and anyone who is violent or aggressive towards our staff can expect us to pursue this all the way to courts.

“Our ambulance service exists to help people, and our staff do not need unwarranted abuse and harassment.

“Time spent dealing with these calls was precious time which could have been spent helping others, not to mention the distress this caused for our call handlers.”

Dylan Parry, the Trust’s Violence and Aggression Project Officer, added: “We welcome the sentence passed to Mark Lewis, and hope it sends a strong message to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

“This is one of many successful prosecutions we’ve had in recent months, and we will continue to come down hard on violence and aggression towards our staff for as long as it exists.”

Lewis was charged that on 27 June, he sent by means of electronic communications a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, namely abusive phone calls to 999 operators.

He pleaded guilty, and was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

Chief Inspector Emma Tyler, Public Service Centre Manager for South Wales Police, said: “The calls made by Mark Lewis to the 999 number caused significant disruption, cost and wasted time.

“His actions could have impacted upon our ability to assist other members of the public who may have genuinely needed assistance at that time.

“We hope that the sentence serves as a warning to others that we will use the full force of the law to protect the members of the emergency services and the public where people are guilty of wasting emergency services time and subjecting emergency services personnel to abuse and harassment in this manner.”

Editor’s Notes
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