back to article Buffoon in 999 call: 'Cat ate my bacon and I want to press charges'

The West Yorkshire fuzz have released recordings of nuisance calls requesting a cat be arrested for eating a man's bacon and a complaint about a noisy washing machine, as well as a request to identify the actor in Magnum PI*. As reported by the Yorkshire Post, a man rang the police to complain about his girlfriend's cat eating …


  1. msknight Silver badge

    You know...

    I'm a small time fiction author ... and if I put this in a book,someone would find a way to care even less about my non-existant credibility.

    1. Bob Vistakin
  2. frank ly Silver badge

    Too polite

    "Right I'm very sorry sir but it's not a 999 emergency 'cause your girlfriend let the cat eat the bacon. I do apologise but it's not a police matter."

    Try: "You're an idiot. Get off the line or we'll come and arrest you when we're not busy."

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Too polite

      They should have told him to report it to the RSPCA. Cats can't digest pork, which is why you never see pork flavoured cat food. So this is an animal welfare issue...

      1. Tom Wood

        Re: Too polite

        Maybe not. I like this explanation from here:,5753,-18852,00.html

        "Why are there no pork or other pigmeat cat food varieties? "

        "I've always understood the reason to be that the pigmeat industry has a long-established method of disposing of its waste products. They call the result "sausages" - or, if you're lucky, "economy sausages". "

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Too polite

          Ahh, economy sausages - for when its hard to make both ends meat.

          1. IsJustabloke Silver badge

            Re: Too polite

            That made me LOL and deserves more than the single poultry upvote I'm allowed to to give it

            1. Martin

              Re: Too polite

              ...single poultry upvote ...

              Upvoted by a chicken?

              I think you mean "paltry".

              But I agree with the sentiments.

              1. VeganVegan

                Re: Too polite

                @ Martin: pun a lot?

            2. x 7 Silver badge

              Re: Too polite

              "the single poultry upvote"

              well, don't crow about it, me old cock

          2. JulieM Silver badge

            Re: Too polite

            Would they be the ones that are forty for four Euros, bright pink and straight as sticks of rock?

        2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Too polite

          All the 'oles - ear-holes, eye-holes and arseholes.

      2. Steve Gill

        Re: Too polite

        That's odd, I've seen both pork and ham flavoured cat food recently

        1. NoOnions
          Thumb Up

          Re: Too polite

          Yup, my cat likes pork and ham:

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: Felix

            In Norway (possibly the whole of Scandinavia) Felix cat food is branded Pussi.

            (Un)fortunately they kept the slogan As Good as it Looks.

            I kid you not.

      3. launcap Silver badge

        Re: Too polite

        > Cats can't digest pork,

        Can't decide whether this is satire, trolling or dumbness..

        (My 6 all quite happily eat pork. Especially if they have managed to steal it from my plate.)

        1. Red Bren

          @ launcap Re: Too polite

          "Can't decide whether this is satire, trolling or dumbness.."

          Maybe a bit of all three? I did google before posting and found opinion to be divided* on the subject. Some results suggested cats can eat pork while others claimed it would cause them problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. My favourite theory was that pork tastes too much like human flesh and the manufacturers don't want cats to get a taste for it...

          * A bit like global warming. So I stuck to my original preconceptions...

      4. Martin

        Re: Too polite

        Cats can't digest pork...

        Try telling that to our cat who stole a sausage from under the grill - while it was on....

        We reckoned he'd earned it.

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

          Re: Too polite

          Try telling that to our cat who stole a sausage from under the grill - while it was on....

          We reckoned he'd earned it.

          Ours have worked out that once they have got it we have lost the will to get it back. Although one of my hungrier sons...

      5. Maty

        Re: Too polite

        Urban legend. Cats can and do digest pork. You'll also see it listed on pet foods as 'ham' or similar.

        It's not recommended that you feed a cat bacon, but that's because the sodium level is too high - nothing to do with the meat itself. Well cooked pork is as safe for a cat as beef or tuna. (In fact probably safer than tuna depending on the mercury content.)

      6. JulieM Silver badge

        Re: Too polite

        Felix do make pork and ham flavour cat food. And my cat will eat ham, and bacon -- but turns up his nose at sausages.

        What I want to know is, why can't you get cat food in antelope or zebra flavour, for the cat that thinks it's a lion?

    2. joshimitsu

      Re: Too polite

      it's a Very British Response to a ridiculous request.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "You're an idiot. Get off the line or we'll come and arrest you when we're not busy."


      But regrettably that would probably breach the Services guidlines on non urgent call handling.*

      And modern call recording systems catch every word of both sides of the conversation.

      *Official body. You know they'll have one. Wheather anyone can recall it's exact contents is another matter.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too polite

      Jasper Carrott's nutter on the bus sketch immediately comes to mind

      Nutter bus

    5. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Too polite

      Far more likely to be:

      "Does this involve Jimmy Savile, Rotherham Social Services or anything at all to do with Hillsborough?"


      "Then you're nicked son - report to your local police station"

    6. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Too polite

      Perhaps, but if you have worked in a profession where customer service is needed you will know that "polite" is a weapon like silence too. With my 35 years in IT I can assure you that shouting will just increase the time lost with "idiots". With five years as a taxi driver I can assure you it's the same, and silence can be a really lethal weapon too, no good for a 999 emergency though. Polite is in fact quite a weapon.

    7. Danny 4

      Re: Too polite

      The guy deserves neither girlfriend nor cat. Or even access to bacon.

      I'm embarrassed that he's a member of the same species.

      1. Turtle

        @Danny 4

        "The guy deserves neither girlfriend nor cat."

        Right on both counts.

        "Or even access to bacon."

        Now that's harsh.

      2. Charles Manning

        Re: Too polite

        "guy deserves neither girlfriend nor cat"

        He clearly handed in his man card years ago. Wouldn't know what to do with a girlfriend.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not Necessarily....

        "I'm embarrassed that he's a member of the same species."

        Well, they didn't actually try to establish the caller's species - just gave him the benefit of the doubt on that point and they took his word on having a girl friend too.

        I'll buy the part about the cat eating his bacon, but my guess is they were both alone in the house and he was outwitted by the cat.

  3. Captain DaFt

    No, Not him!

    "as well as a request to identify the actor in Magnum PI*."

    "* Tom Selleck. (Duh.)"

    "Nah, the other guy with a mustache, the English guy!"

    You mean the guy that played Higgins, John Hillerman?

    "Yah! Higgins, that's the one! Stuck up Bastard!"

    I've actually had this conversation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, Not him!

      I'd report this to OFCOM as it shows no-one in the area has an internet connection, Mobile Data or WiFi that would allow them to use Google (other search engines are available)

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: No, Not him!

      "You mean the guy that played Higgins, John Hillerman?

      Yah! Higgins, that's the one! Stuck up Bastard!"

      That's right, and a liar too! It turns out the rain in Spain doesn't stay mainly in the plain at all...!

      ...huh? What do you mean "not that one"...?!?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Sir Barry

    Charge 'em

    When these prats phone up with idiotic requests like this the cops should charge something like £25 for wasting police time.

    And this should be court enforceable with Community Payback if the chumps don't cough up.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Charge 'em

      Extra service on the 999 operators desk, a button that adds £100 to the callers bill, and dumps the recoded converstaion into an evidence file?

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Charge 'em

        Software service provided by ... Capita? It would cost £1.5Bn to get £100 back.

    2. FredBloggs61

      Re: Charge 'em

      Good plan, I would prefer it if some community payback was introduced, but financial penalties work too

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Charge 'em

      I'd prefer euthanasia, improve the gene pool and all that.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have a better solution..

      Make this mandatory after such a call and the problem will eventually indeed sort itself out because these genes disappear from the pool.

      Sometimes I wish it was possible to take away some people's ability to breed. I seriously feel for the operators, I hope some of them are at least funny.

      Harsh? Yes, haven't had my coffee yet.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: I have a better solution..


        Sometimes I wish it was possible to take away some people's ability to breed. I seriously feel for the operators, I hope some of them are at least funny.

        In this particular instance, with him wanting his girlfriend arrested along with the cat, she probably would no longer allow him to attempt to breeding with her.

    5. Triggerfish

      Re: Charge 'em

      Unfortunately they are the sort of idiots that then show up in the papers making a sad face while holding a scrap of paper, and huge headlines saying council charged me for making a mistake (although it should say "for being an idiot") they have to much power or something, and then our money gets wasted on trying to enforce it.

      I have had calls at 3am (while working on a council repair line) about such fun things as my light bulb is broken get someone here to replace it (couldn't change it themselves health and safety), and there's ants in my kitchen my babies in danger. Both these people were mid twenty 'ish, if I phoned my parents and said the council didn't send someone round to change the light bulb my parents would be ashamed, both these people then had there parents immediately ring and complain as well.

      Have to say listening to those calls I feel slightly worried for the seven year old whose been left in the charge of an idiot.

  5. moiety

    If this is a big problem, would it not make sense to have a layer-2 switchboard to shunt these calls to? I have tentatively called it TMS (Triaged Message Service is what you'd call it in public; but the acronym would, of course, stand for The Muppet Show).

    As I see it, the biggest wastes of time are:

    1. Identifying that it's a waste of time

    2. Backing gracefully out of the conversation

    ...not a lot you can do about the identifying part; but the backing out gracefully part is what eats the time and can be safely passed off elsewhere.

    You'd probably only need one of these centres to cover the whole country. You'd have to record which force the call came from; and you'd also need a way of bouncing it back at high priority in case it turns out the triaging was wrong (some people are circumspect and a lot of people get downright weird in an emergency).

    The emergency switchboard could bounce callers there mid-syllable and the caller would have to start from the beginning; but that's just part of the education process. Explaining why that isn't a matter for the police; the consequences of tying up emergency lines and the possible penalties that can accrue wouldn't require that much training; and can all be addressed in the "gracefully exiting the conversation" thing; and they would be able to spend a little more time on it than the emergency line; thus educating callers better and -just maybe- lessening the problem overall.

    You'd have to send back reports to the originating service/force/station - they'll all want a copy of the blooper reel.

    Shouldn't be too expensive (staffing levels would depend upon the scale of the problem and I don't have those numbers), and would reclaim precious seconds on the emergency line.

    1. Ol' Grumpy

      I guess the issue here is one of delay for the genuine cases. Even a minute delay going through triage could potentially be fatal if knife wielding loonies are involved etc.

      1. moiety

        No, the triage is being done anyway on the emergency line. The emergency operator -upon realising they're talking to a muppet- just hits the "Fuck off" button to shunt the call instead of then having to waste time explaining and gracefully losing said muppet.

        In the transcript in the story, for example, the "Fuck off button" would be used instead of replying:

        Police: Right, okay, what would you like the police do with regards to that, sir?

        ...thus reclaiming the time used for that and the subsequent conversation for genuine emergency use.

        @Credas - Graceful because you want to maintain a professional image. Also if you say what you really feel, you're going to end up wasting even more time with accusations and outraged splutterings. Also you never know who's on the other end of the line and what their motivations are. Also, the person on the other end may have genuine problems that it might be possible to address if your sole concern isn't getting your emergency line back.

        1. moiety

          @Credas - forgot the most important reason. The operator who shunts the call to 101 might be wrong. Your TMS centre gives you a second chance if the caller is in shock or bad at expressing themselves or whatever; and genuinely does need help.

          1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

            Hmmm, this seems like an overly complex solution with the same net result as would be achieved by simply hiring more operators to handle emergency calls. Or are we suggesting the operators dealing with the idiots would be less skilled and lower paid?

            1. moiety

              @Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip. From the policeman's comment:

              "Donahoe added that "The serious point is that a lot of the time we're talking about a matter of seconds between us being able to get to a genuine emergency effectively and not being able to, and therefore having people's lives put at risk.""

     would suggest that emergency lines have limited bandwidth; whether that be number of qualified operators; number of physical lines in or whatever. The obvious solution is to get callers who shouldn't be on the line, off; and free up the resources for people who need it.

              Secondly, these calls (and it seems to be a universal and growing problem...just read about the exact same problem in Sweden) have to be dealt with somehow.

              Clearly modern users -probably because communications are so easy and used habitually today- could use some education about appropriate subjects for an emergency line. I don't think hiring more operators would help because they wouldn't be interested in education; they are just interested in getting the caller the fuck out of the way. Having a more laid-back switchboard who are able to take a little time for said education may go some way to solving the problem at source.

              Thirdly there are marginal cases...things that the police could help with but aren't a full-fat emergency. The operators would know that it's not life-or-death; but may be able to help sort out problems. The intelligence and PR benefits could be substantial.


              There's 2 ways you could run it:

              1. Purely as a relatively cheap, scripted, pressure valve.

              2. As a sort of social media replacement for knowing your local policeman. Drunken idiots like Bacon Boy get a verbal spanking and some education; relatively minor but still police-worthy problems can maybe get sorted; emergent problems can possibly be headed off at the pass before they become a major problem. Maybe you could maintain links with other organisations - CAB, RSPCA and that sort of thing and redirect people to the right place.

    2. Credas Silver badge

      Why be graceful about it? "This is not an emergency" and push a button to transfer the call to 101.

      1. Unep Eurobats

        Why be graceful about it?

        I think the main reason is so that they don't ring back and waste yet more time.


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