A man who made thousands of hoax calls to the police and ambulance service in Sussex has been jailed.

Paul Hennessy made almost 2,000 calls to the SECAmb between January 1, 2021 and June 6, 2022.

Some of the calls were made to 999 call handlers, where he made threats to attack ambulance staff at a Make Ready Centre in Hastings with a machete.

He made a threat to kill a crew if they were sent to his address.

In some of his abusive telephone calls he created aliases in order to report false medical episodes he was suffering, such as by claiming he had gone into cardiac arrest.

During the same period, Hennessy, 57, of Southwater Road, St Leonards, made hundreds of calls to police, including falsifying a claim that he had been attacked with an unknown substance on his doorstep.

When police officers arrived, he showed no signs of injury.

At Lewes Crown Court he admitted two counts of sending threatening electronic communications conveying a message to cause distress or anxiety, contrary to Section 127 of the Communications Act.

He was jailed for a total of one year for the offences.

The court heard how Hennessy’s threats to the ambulance service meant extra security measures worth thousands of pounds had to be put in place to protect staff in Hastings.

Investigating officer PC Darren McCann said: “Hennessy has become notorious for making nuisance calls to emergency services.

“This has included wasting valuable time on 999 calls where police and ambulance staff could have been replying to genuine emergencies.

“Some of his hoaxes also led to paramedics and police officers having to be sent to his address, to respond to potential medical or criminal emergencies that he had concocted.

“His behaviour during his calls to the emergency services was appalling. He was frequently abusive to staff and made threats to harm them and to harm frontline emergency responders.

“This is simply not acceptable. We are pleased that the court recognises the seriousness of these offences, and we hope that he will have time to reflect on his appalling behaviour in prison.”

SECAmb Security Manager Dave Monk said: “The behaviour of this individual put lives at risk and subjected staff, who come to work to help people, instead to horrific abuse and fear.

“Our staff deserve to be able to provide vital care to people without facing such awful and timewasting abuse.

“We will always work closely with police to ensure individuals who don’t respect our staff are held to account for their actions. We welcome the custodial sentence and thank our police colleagues for their work to ensure these crimes did not go unpunished.”

SECAmb supports a national campaign – Work Without Fear – which was launched in February, which aims to address the growing aggression and violence aimed at ambulance staff.

Nationally, nearly 12,000 staff – an increase of 35 per cent in the last five years – were targeted. Further information on the campaign is available here: Trust supports national anti-violence and aggression campaign – NHS South East Coast Ambulance Service (secamb.nhs.uk)