Prank callers have targeted the Scottish Ambulance Service almost 1,400 times since 2019.

Figures have revealed that 1,368 hoax calls have been recorded by the SAS in recent years, with over 300 occurring this year alone.

The “appalling” dials are “risking lives” according to Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden who uncovered the numbers with a Freedom of Information Request.

It comes as under-pressure ambulance crews attended 1,136 of the incidents between 2019 and now, which turned out to be false alarms.

This wasted over 767 hours of ambulance service time dealing with them.

Mr Golden has called for the “selfish individuals” to be “severely punished” when caught and says it is the last thing hardworking frontline ambulance crews need to be dealing with.

He said: “The number of hoax calls being received by our overstretched ambulance crews is appalling.

“Over 300 have already been recorded this year alone, in what is clearly a deeply concerning trend.

“This is the last thing ambulance staff need to be dealing with at a time when the SNP have failed to give them the resources they need to attend genuine emergencies in a timely manner.

“While pranksters may think these calls are a joke, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is they are putting lives at risk with their reckless behaviour.

“These selfish individuals should be severely punished when they are caught. They have diverted resources – which are already scarce thanks to the SNP’s lack of action – away from real incidents.

“That could be the difference between life and death for some if crucial time is wasted on travelling to respond to incidents that turn out to be a total hoax.”

Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We strongly condemn hoax or malicious calls to our emergency services.

"These are not victimless pranks and they can potentially distract and divert vital resources and attention away from those who are in life-threatening situations.

"The Emergency Workers Act enables penalties of up to 12 months imprisonment, a £10,000 fine, or both, to be imposed following conviction for offences against ambulance staff.

“We continue to invest in supporting the Scottish Ambulance Service staff and patients, including a record number of additional staff since 2020, with a further 317 to be recruited by April.”