British police hunt emergency hoax rapper

Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:37am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British police are searching for a rapper who has been bombarding emergency service telephone lines with thousands of hoax calls.

The man dials the UK 999 emergency number and then begins to rap, sing, chant, preach and blast loud music to bewildered operators.

The calls, which have blocked the line at busy times, have been going on for a year and a half.

In the last three months alone, say police in the northern city of Manchester, he made around 700 calls to them, costing the force up to 1,000 pounds ($1,500) a month.

Audio clips of some of the calls were released by the force on Wednesday in the hope that somebody will recognize his Jamaican accent and tip them off.

Despite more than 60 SIM cards being blocked, he continues to call, using unregistered phones and stopping call handlers dealing with genuine emergencies.

Police say they have worked with a number of different mobile phone companies to establish that most of the calls are made from either the Moss Side or Old Trafford areas of Manchester.

"I would hope he does not do this out of malice, because he is putting lives at risk," said superintendent Karen Lee.

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison)