FIREFIGHTERS have been tied up by two hoax calls after youngsters dialled 999 from a phone box twice in less than 24 hours.

Fire chiefs are now urging parents to warn their children that hoax calls can cost lives.

The calls were made from a phone box in Blenheim Road, one on August 26 at 6.25pm and the other the following day at 1.25pm.

In both instances, the children made the call and asked for the fire brigade, before hanging up and leaving the phone box.

No emergency service vehicles were dispatched but Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) borough manager for Bolton, Ian Bailey, said the consequences could still have been serious.

Mr Bailey added: “We have had two calls in a short space of time from the same call box.

“We have not sent out any fire engines to a location because of this but this is a real inconvenience for 999 call operators.

“They have then gone through the process of ringing the call box each time, as they have to make sure people haven’t hung up by mistake or started panicking.”

He said that there is often a spate in hoax calls during the school holidays and while it may be intended as a bit of fun, it is still unacceptable.

Mr Bailey added: “I don’t think it is anything malicious but we must point out that it is just something that we don’t need.

“It is a waste of resources and our time and could have really serious consequences.”

With the calls having been made in public, Mr Bailey also called on Breightmet residents to look out for groups of children using the Blenheim Road phone box.

He added: “It is not common for young people to use phone boxes these days.

“If local people see young children hanging around the box they might be able to challenge them.”