MORE than 5,600 people called police when nothing had happened in the past five years, new figures have revealed.

A Freedom of Information request revealed between November 2012 and November 2017, 5,656 hoax calls were made to Essex Police.

This means on each occasion the police were called and had their time wasted when no crime was recorded.

Of the total number of hoax calls received by Essex Police, just under half were immediately categorised as hoaxes, with the rest being broken down into categories of what false stories were provided.

Out of all the categories, hoax was the highest number by more than 1,800 calls.

The second highest number was abandoned 999 emergency calls at 815 incidents.

There was also a high number of ‘unassessed’ domestic abuse calls, with 286 incidents.

Some 209 calls related to concerns for someone’s safety while there were 132 cases when a 999 call was made but when answered the line remained silent.

Additionally, there were 27 sexual crimes reported - including 14 for sexual assault, and 13 for rape - which the force does not believe happened.

Essex Police began a movement in July 2016 called ‘More Time to Fight Crime’ to encourage people to prevent wasting police time.

In a statement, the force lambasted those who make hoax calls.

A spokesman said: “We take a zero-tolerance approach to hoax calls because they stop people who really need us from getting through.

“Our message is clear: it’s not clever, it’s not funny and it could well end up with you being arrested, fined and imprisoned.

“But we also want people to understand what is and isn’t a police matter. We take hundreds of calls every month on issues like noise nuisance or parking problems which can and should be resolved by local partners.

“We will always try and help but especially at summertime our resources can be stretched. Knowing how to do things like report non-emergency crime online will give us more time to fight crime.”