Man who made nuisance 999 calls of him belching jailed for 24 weeks

14 November 2019, 14:21

File photo: Peterborough Magistrates' Court
File photo: Peterborough Magistrates' Court. Picture: Google Street View

By Megan White

A man who made more than 30 nuisance calls to 999 to belch down the phone because he was bored has been jailed for 24 weeks.

Rhys Pilott, 28, repeatedly phoned the emergency number and burped at police call handlers on two occasions – 13 calls on the first, and 19 on the second.

Prosecutor Anthea Harris said the calls were "easily distinguished" as being made by the defendant as he was "audibly belching down the phone line".

"When he was arrested, he continued to belch," she said. "He said to police 'if you're bored, prank call the police. It's fun'."

She added: "While he's on the phone, other genuine calls can't be taken."

Pilott, of Crown Street, Peterborough, admitted at an earlier hearing to causing a public nuisance on September 24.

He also admitted to persistently making use of a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety on September 27.

Pilott sat with his arms folded as he appeared by video-link for his sentencing at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Michelle Canagasuriam, mitigating, said his offending was not "malicious or callous" and he has learning difficulties.

"He does this partly due to boredom," she said. "The psychologist is of the view this is about empowerment and importance.

"It was a need to be a someone who could make things happen, when all of his life history suggests he couldn't achieve this."

District Judge Ken Sheraton said Pilott "knows what he's doing".

Jailing the defendant, he told him: "Whatever the reason for this persistent ringing of the emergency services you've got to realise that you're creating all sorts of difficulties for the emergency services and inevitably for yourself because you end up going to prison.

"I understand fully that you've got some problems but it's also clear that you know what you're doing and you're doing this out of boredom.

"You've got to find some other way of managing your time or prison sentences will get longer and longer."

Pilott admitted to two further offences at Thursday's hearing, which both relate to an incident on September 10 where he stripped naked in public in the middle of the day and swore at police.

He pleaded guilty to outraging public decency and to using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard he was on a suspended sentence order when he committed the offences.

His total sentence for all of the offences is 24 weeks in prison.

The court heard Pilott had 12 previous convictions for "similar type offending", including three bomb hoaxes.