WORRIED police chiefs have urged people to think before dialling 999.
They fear they will be swamped by non-emergency calls made on the 999 system in West Yorkshire over the Christmas and New Year holiday.
They told how one man, for example, rang 999 simply because he had lost his hat.
West Yorkshire Ambulance Service has similar worries.
This time of year brings a rise in calls to the emergency services, specifically in incidents involving domestic disputes or alcohol- related disorder.
A police spokesman said: "You should dial 999 in a genuine emergency, where there is a danger to life, or where a crime is in progress - for example, a neighbour's house is being broken into.
"At other times people can contact the police on 0845 6060606.
"This number is for non-emergencies, where police attendance is required, or to report a crime or other incidents.
"Local police stations have a 24-hour help desk and can offer advice, help with administrative inquiries or update crime information.
"Help desk numbers can be found in the BT and Thomson Local directories."
Supt Chris Barnes, divisional commander for communications, said: "People are in good spirits over the Christmas and New Year period and we do appreciate that.
"But it is important that people consider the impact of their actions on others around them.
"For example, when someone rings 999 when it is not an emergency, this call diverts an operator away from dealing with someone who genuinely needs immediate assistance.
"Being locked out of your car may be inconvenient, but it isn't a life or death situation.
"Similarly we took a call on the 999 service from a man who had lost his hat, and another man who had been given four pieces of fried chicken when he had actually paid for five.
"Use your common sense. Obviously if it is an emergency, dial 999. But also keep the non-emergency number in an easily accessible place, such as by the phone.
"People often dial 999 simply because it's easy to remember."