A man who used and abused the emergency services across Britain - including in Peterborough - in order to get free travel and accommodation, has been banned from every railway station in the country.
David Allen has also been told he must stop making nuisance calls to the emergency services after police and ambulance workers were called out to him on 63 occasions in a nine-month period.
Each time, the 37-year-old would either falsely threaten to hurt himself or others or, feign mental health symptoms, in a bid to get emergency workers to take him to hospital for an overnight stay or to another location he wanted to get to.
In April, Allen spoke to BTP officers in Peterborough, saying he needed to get to hospital in Stevenage after being dropped off at the station by Cambridgeshire Police. He was asked if he wished to go to hospital on a voluntary basis and stated: “I need to be one-three-sixed and it’s not happening at the moment”.
Between December 2014 and September 2015, Australian-born Allen called out British Transport Police on 33 occasions, made 13 similar demands of local police forces and called directly on NHS services 17 times.
On more than half of those occasions, he was either taken to a mental health unit under section 136 of the Mental Health Act or assessed at the scene by a medical professional.
Each time he was found to have no treatable mental health illness.
Unemployed Allen, of no fixed address, has now been handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) which prevents him from entering railway property when drunk or having taken drugs, and says he must have a train ticket for the next available train.
His call-outs to BTP, which stretched from Truro to Carlisle, included:
Allen called the police and ambulance service from Tring station in May saying he was hallucinating. He told emergency workers he wanted to self-admit to a mental health unit and would head to Euston to get admitted into a hospital in London instead.
In July, Allen was challenged for not having a ticket on a train between Portsmouth and Waterloo. When told he would receive a penalty fare, Allen said he was hearing voices and needed an ambulance. He was taken to hospital and released before asking for a travel warrant to get to Carlisle.
Officers found Allen asleep at Reading railway station in September. He said he was having thoughts of hurting people and was taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act. When he was released, he asked the hospital for a taxi to the nearest train station and a travel warrant.
Allen’s behaviour came to the attention of BTP’s dedicated Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Unit (SPMH), after a particularly prolific spate of calling out BTP officers 17 times in two months.
In early June, the Birmingham-based SPMH team alerted BTP detectives to the demand Allen was placing on the force and Detective Constable Stephanie Davis began to catalogue Allen’s call outs - not just to BTP but to other emergency services across the country.
DC Davis said: “Before April, he’d only come to our attention four times, but following his flurry of activity in the spring, we suspected he was making similar demands of others.
“Requesting information from other forces and the NHS, we set about compiling a list of his vexatious call-outs, knowing we could use it to apply for a CBO and put a stop to his activities.
“A CBO can only be applied for at a court when an individual is being dealt with for a criminal offence. So, when Allen was charged with a public order offence on 6th October, after being aggressive towards nursing staff in Chichester, we were able to put all our evidence before the court.”
On Tuesday, 20 October, Worthing and Chichester Magistrates’ Court granted a five-year CBO banning Allen from:
- Entering all railway stations in England and Wales while under the influence of alcohol or controlled drugs, without a valid ticket to travel. He must also use the first available train service to his destination.
- Calling any emergency telephone number or attending any police, doctors or hospital premises in order to cause annoyance and false alarm, or to make threats to harm himself or others.
Detective Inspector Gareth Davies said: “David Allen has tied up many hours of valuable police, ambulance and hospital time, only for medical professionals to confirm there is absolutely nothing wrong with him.
“As a result of some thorough and methodical work by BTP officers and staff, we have obtained this CBO which means should Allen come to our attention in future, we can deal with him quickly - ensuring emergency workers can spend their time helping those who genuinely need them.
“We will always deal with people presenting with mental health issues in a compassionate and sympathetic manner. However, we do not tolerate bogus calls for service and we hope this CBO sends a clear message to any like-minded individuals that we will use all powers available to us to put a stop to such behaviour.”