Two 10-year-old girls who sparked a major police search with a prank 999 call will not face criminal charges, the YEP can reveal.
As reported in the YEP, the pair orchestrated the elaborate hoax, posing as a three-year-old girl called Ellie, whose mum had collapsed in the kitchen of her Leeds home.
The call to the ambulance service on July 30 prompted a frantic bid to find the mystery tot.
Police estimate it wasted around £3,000 of taxpayers’ money and tied up more than 12 investigating officers before eventually being traced to a mobile phone in Bridlington.
But the Youth Offending Team and the Crown Prosecution Service have now decided no criminal charges will be brought in relation to the call.
Instead the two young girls will take part in a programme, visiting emergency service call handlers to hear about the impact of hoax calls.
Detective Superintendent David Pervin, from West Yorkshire Police homicide and major enquiry team, said: “The investigation of this hoax call took up a significant amount of police time and resources that could have been better spent dealing with real incidents. Our priority was one of preservation of life, to find this ‘little girl and her mum’ and get help to them.
“It is clear from the calls we received and the many comments made on social media and across the internet that people, both locally and nationally, were moved by the highly emotive nature of the situation detailed in the call and wanted to help.
“Once investigations established the call was in fact a hoax those people understandably felt let down, although we were all relieved that the situation wasn’t real and no one had suffered any actual harm.
“The girls are now going through a formal process to challenge their behaviour and make them appreciate the impact of their actions. We hope it teaches them a very important lesson about how misuse of the 999 system can cause significant unnecessary work for the emergency services, and how hoaxes can result in diverting limited resources away from dealing with genuine calls.”