Humberside Police has been forced to warn the public only to call 999 in genuine emergencies after a Yorkshireman phoned saying he was worried a sheep would "eat his children".

It may sound too far-fetched to be true, but unbelievably, was a genuine call requesting officers attend.

The man explained there were sheep in his garden and he believed they were going to eat his children in an act of "revenge" after he had made a shepherd's pie.

He thought they were trying to break into his house as they could smell the lamb cooking in his kitchen.

"Obviously, I have eaten their kids, so they are going to eat mine," he told the emergency service call handler.

Other bizarre calls included a local resident who asking how to pay their council tax, as well as a woman concerned her washing machine wouldn’t stop spinning, and a request to investigate who owned a straying cat.

Extracts of some of the calls, including the call about the man-eating sheep, can be heard below:

Such calls not only increase demand in the Force Control Room, but the warns they could potentially cost someone their life.​

'We will hang up'

Force Control Room Superintendent Tracy Bradley said: “When the days get longer and the weather warms up, we do tend to see an increase in calls for our service and we need people to please, make the right call.

“We prepare for this each year by having extra staff on shift to answer calls, taking our breaks at times when we know there are fewer calls, and limiting the number of people that can take time off across the summer.

“However, inappropriate calls to our 999 and 101 lines can have a significant impact, causing delays in getting through for people that genuinely need our assistance and the 999 services.

“At best, that means people calling 101 have to wait longer before we can deal with their call. At worst, it could be the difference between life and death.

I want to be clear, if you call 999 inappropriately we will hang up as soon as we have established that you’re not calling about a genuine emergency. I make no apology for that.

“We will not risk delaying someone whose life is in danger getting through to us because someone has called 999 to report their washing machine is faulty.

“Not all the inappropriate calls we receive are done maliciously. Some come from vulnerable people and where that’s the case our teams do everything they can to ensure that the caller is safe and has the right advice and support.

“However, many are from people that don’t understand that 999 is for emergencies only and that there are other ways to find out advice and information or get in touch with us."

The force asked that callers only use 999 where life is at risk, violence is being used or threatened, or where a crime is currently taking place.