Hoax caller reported fake Burgess Hill machete sighting to get colleague in trouble

A man who made a hoax 999 call in an attempt to get his colleague into trouble with police has been jailed for ten months.

According to Sussex Police, Ashley Hall, 26, a labourer, of The Nurseries in Bognor Regis, dialled 999 at 4.07pm on June 26 and reported seeing a man waving a machete out of the window of a car in the Burgess Hill area.

Due to the seriousness of the report, this triggered a significant emergency response involving over 20 officers, including armed police.

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Polie said the defendant gave officers the vehicle registration and it was traced to a location in Brighton, prompting roads to be closed so the suspect, thought to be in possession of a weapon, could be safely detained. At no point did he claim to know the victim, police said.

Ashley Hall, 26, a Labourer, of The Nurseries in Bognor Regis. Photo: Sussex Police

The victim was detained in Brighton and interviewed by officers who determined he was not in possession of a weapon and had not been in Burgess Hill at the time of the allegation.

In police interviews, Hall admitted the report he made about the victim was untrue.

Police said Hall confessed that he wanted to get the victim in trouble following a workplace disagreement and wished to scare him by calling police.

Hall pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at Lewes Crown Court on December 2. On February 26 he appeared at the same court and was sentenced to ten months imprisonment.

Chief Inspector Roy Hodder said: “This fabricated event wasted a huge amount of police time and resources which is completely unacceptable.

“Our priority is to ensure callers get through as quickly as possible so we can respond swiftly to genuine emergencies and be where we are needed the most.

“We will not let people get away with putting lives at risk through hoax calls and I’d like to thank the officers who worked on this investigation and helped to bring Hall to justice for his irresponsible actions.

“We take every call we receive seriously so would urge people to make the right call and please only dial 999 in a genuine emergency. For non-urgent police matters please report online or call 101.

“To see if your concern is a police matter please see check our website here.”