Police have this week issued a stark warning about the consequences of making fake 999 calls.
Between September 2008 and August 2009, the authority received more than 17,000 hoax calls.
The bulk of these were either youngsters playing a joke or people wasting time by reporting fake crimes.
But now officers have warned that these stupid pranks could be putting lives at risk.
Sgt Sally Marsh said: “Hoax calls are extremely dangerous because while emergency services are attending the fake call, there could be a genuine life-threatening emergency taking place where they are desperately needed.
“We do get a lot of calls from young people playing pranks and we would urge parents to educate their children about the consequences of doing this.”
Making hoax calls to the emergency services is a criminal offence and culprits could end up with a fine, criminal record or even a prison sentence.
Members of the public are reminded to only dial 999 if there is a threat to life or a genuine crime in progress. Non-emergency calls and enquiries should be directed to West Midlands Police central switchboard number 0845 113 5000.