Police are appealing for youths to think twice about making a hoax call following an incident in Bishop Auckland.
Officers blue lighted through Bishop Auckland when a child was reported to have been hit by a car in Tindale on Wednesday, May 5.
But when officers and the ambulance service arrived on the scene, ready to give potentially life-saving help, it became clear this had been a hoax call.
It is the second hoax call officers in Bishop Auckland have received in the last two weeks.
An investigation is ongoing into the hoax call which is believed to have been made by a youth from a phone box in Tindale Retail Park, at about 9.20pm.
Those responsible will be prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
Inspector Pete Lonsdale said: “This is unacceptable and diverted much-needed resources away from other emergencies.
“We are asking all parents to talk to their children about the seriousness of making a hoax call.
“What if you or your loved one was in desperate need of help but had had to wait because the emergency services were diverted to a hoax call?
“Please think about the consequences.”
If you have any information call 101 quoting incident reference 452 of May 5 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.