SCOTTISH emergency services have wasted valuable time responding to more than 50,000 hoax calls or false alarms.

A total of 57.8% of all incidents the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) attended from 2019-20 was a false alarm, resulting in almost 54,000 unnecessary blue light journeys.

While Police Scotland stated it would be simply "too expensive" to determine just how many hours its officers had wasted answering hoax calls when responding to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The Scottish Ambulance service did not respond to an FOI submission.

Councillor Paul Carey described the findings as "worrying".

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He said: "I am fully behind our emergency services, however, it is quite worrying.

"The message is quite simple people who make hoax phone calls to the emergency services can cost lives.

The figures come just months after the SFRS launched a campaign to drastically reduce the number of false alarms it attended.

It revealed 98% of automated firm alarm calls were not fire related, resulting in firefighters responding to 28,713 calls unnecessarily throughout 2019.

The majority of the signals from the alarm systems were not caused by fires but, instead, triggered by a fault, cooking, steam, dust, smoking or vaping.

Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart, SFRS director of prevention and protection, said: “False alarms, such as those that are caused by system faults or as a consequence of unintended actions, are an unnecessary drain on our resources and present undue risk for our firefighters and the public from appliances responding to these calls under blue light conditions.

“For businesses and other organisations it can result in an impact on costs including lost revenue and the real danger of staff becoming complacent.”