INSTRUCTIONS on how to defrost turkey and requests for a lift home are just some of the many bizarre calls to the emergency services that people are being asked to avoid making at New Year.

While most people are winding down to welcome in 2019, staff on the 999 emergency services line are gearing up for their busiest time of the year.

Six BT call centres handle the nation’s 999 calls in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the North of England, passing calls to the relevant emergency service.

In the past year, BT’s team handled more than 34 million calls at an average of 93,000 per day.

However, from 9pm on New Year's Eve to 3am on New Year's morning, calls spike to around 9,000 per hour.

While most of them are genuine, too many turn out to be vexations and non-urgent.

Calls that the police have received include:

“The Off Licence has closed early”

Requests for instructions on how to defrost a turkey

Requests for a lift home from the Police because no taxis are available.

“What time does Sainsbury’s close?”

“Can I apply to the Police Station for a licence for Santa’s sleigh?”

“My mobile phone is not working – can you help?”

A report of someone who is not sleeping very well – can the Police recommend a solution?

A man woke at home after drinking heavily wearing a pair of handcuffs and wanted to know how to remove them.

Jeremy Brown, head of operations at West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: "At this time of year when our teams are dealing with a high volume of calls, we would urge people to think carefully before calling 999.

"The line exists to help in an emergency and calling unnecessarily distracts from those in need."

With that message in mind, the front-line response team at BT and the emergency services are asking people to only dial 999 for genuine emergencies over the New Year period.

Anyone unsure about who to call should try 111 first.