UPDATED WITH AUDIO: Shocking hoax 999 calls reveal an ambulance was rung for Bedford man asleep in a taxi

Ambulance bosses have released shocking audio recordings of people making hoax and idiotic 999 calls - including someone reporting an injured squirrel.

Figures revealed this week show that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust received 1,144 hoax or unnecessary calls over the last two years.

These included a drunk man wanting a taxi in Essex and a man asking for an ‘animal ambulance’ for a critically injured squirrel in Peterborough.

It also received a call from a woman about a cat with a broken leg in north Cambridgeshire and one from a child in Chelmsford, Essex, worried that their goldfish was “drowning”.

A call also came in for an unconscious man in Bedford who turned out to be snoring in the back of a taxi.

The service released the audio as part of its It’s Your Call campaign which urges people to only call them in a genuine emergency.

Gary Morgan, head of emergency operations centres (EOC), said: “Just because 999 is an easy to remember number does not mean it is acceptable for people to misuse it or treat it as a telephone directory.

“Hoax and inappropriate 999 calls have the potential to divert attention away from real emergencies and we will refer people who misuse the service to our police colleagues to take action.

“We’d urge the public to remember that the ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain and breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, strokes, trauma, choking and severe allergic reactions.”