More than 7000 hoax calls have been made to the Scottish Ambulance Service in the past three years, it has emerged.

The response to a Freedom of Information request showed a total of 7057 hoax calls had been made to the service since 2009.

Nearly half of the calls resulted in the use of ambulance resources, while 2678 were attended by staff.

MSP Alison McInnes, health spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, who obtained the figures, branded the calls "wasteful and thoughtless" and called on the Scottish Government to highlight the negative impact they can have.

She said: "7000 hoax calls in three years are no joke for Scotland's emergency services. Each and every hoax call must be answered by an emergency dispatch centre. It's an extraordinary waste of our emergency services' time and resources.

"At a time when NHS resources are already stretched to the limits, many people will be disappointed to learn that each year the Scottish Ambulance Service has to attend nearly a thousand hoax call-outs (per year).

"Malicious hoax calls are irresponsible and dangerous as they can divert resources from genuine emergencies.

"It is all of our responsibility to make it clear to society that putting people's lives at risk is no joke.

"The Scottish Government must also tackle this by launching a broad public awareness campaign."