THE number of malicious calls to the fire service in Bradford district has almost halved in the last three years.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said there were 114 hoax calls between June 1, 2013 and May 31 this year - down 95 from the same period in 2011/12.

Tom Rhodes, district prevention manager for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said a lot of work had gone into reducing the number of hoax calls.

The number of hoax calls received by fire stations in Bradford district in 2011/12 was 209. That figure dropped to 150 in 2012/13, and 114 for the most recent period.

"It is only small numbers but does not reflect the amount of work we do," said Mr Rhodes. "It is a real positive outcome for us.

"We deal with visits to homes and reducing hoax calls and reducing fires in all sorts of buildings.

"It seems we are having a reduction. We do a lot of work out in the community, whether it be visiting areas with a high number of dwelling fires, or working with partner agencies."

On the dangers of hoax calls, Mr Rhodes said: "It could take an appliance from Odsal to the edge of its area and could mean they were an extra few minutes away from a real incident in their area.

"They could have to go from Queensbury to Holme Wood - extra travelling distance could be a matter of life or death."

He added: "There are other fire appliances throughout the district. We are very lucky in terms of the fire cover we have got and in terms of being able to reach areas.

"Our control staff are extremely good at knowing where our appliances are and mobilising others. We are relying on the professionalism of control staff and fire crews.

"But there is always that chance something could happen."

Mr Rhodes said at least four people from Bradford district had been prosecuted for making hoax calls in the last 18 months.