17/12/2013 22:15 GMT | Updated 18/12/2013 02:17 GMT

Don't Call Fire Brigade If You're Locked Out Over Christmas

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Fire Fighters should not be called for frivolous reasons

Fire chiefs have warned against a repeat of last year's increase in 999 calls from people locked out of their houses after losing their keys during festive celebrations.

Such calls have cost taxpayers nearly £10 million over the past four years in London alone, according to the capital's brigade, which has attended more than 28,000 such calls since 2009.

Firefighters in London attended almost 7,000 "locked out" calls in 2012/13, slightly up on the previous year, and officers are worried the number could rise again.

The brigade said it had dealt with calls from people locked in toilets, offices, car parks, shops, and even in cemeteries, in recent years.