MEMBERS of the public have been urged not to waste time with inappropriate 999 calls at Christmas.

The Scottish Ambulance Service issued the plea as it braces itself for a busy weekend before Christmas.

Last Sunday, emergency demand in some parts of the country exceeded the anticipated 20% surge, with a 32% increase in Edinburgh and a 22% increase in Glasgow and Lanarkshire.

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Although the majority of calls are genuine emergencies, operators have also handled some extreme examples of inappropriate 999 calls, including a woman who was worried her tooth might fall out and someone who wanted an ambulance crew to open a jar.

Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: "The 999 service is for serious emergencies and we are asking the public to use it wisely so we can continue to send ambulances quickly to those that need us most."