Ambulance staff were called by a man who wanted help getting his wedding ring off his finger - so he could throw it at his wife during a row.

Paramedics also took 999 calls asking for lifts home, because of a popped spot, help changing a light bulb and assistance finding a lost TV remote. One crew arrived at the home of a patient in their 60s, only to be asked to fetch a pack of cigarettes.

Portsmouth-based paramedic Graham Collins, 53, said: “People don’t have much self reliance - they think they can call 999 for whatever reason.” South Central Ambulance Service, who logged 1,235 hoax calls between January and October last year, have now launched a film encouraging people to think before calling for emergency help. The North West Ambulance Service last week released details of some of its more ludicrous calls, including a man requesting help to unblock his toilet on Christmas Eve. Other non-emergencies included a call from a woman requesting assistance after a cotton bud got stuck in her ear, a man complaining of toothache and another moaning he had had an itchy eye.  –OCU