A mum dialled 999 after her ex gave their children a glass jar of stick insects as a Christmas present.
The woman called police and begged them to take the creepy crawlies into custody and offered to drop them off at her nearest police station.
She called North Yorkshire Police from her home in York on Christmas Day after the children’s father returned them with the stick insects.
Paul Richardson, the deployment manager who decides the response to 999 calls in York, said: “We had a call from a woman in West York who had a domestic split with her partner.
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“He had bought the children some stick insects and a glass container, and he returned the children with the container.
“Neither of them wanted the insects, so she asked if she could bring them to the police station and leave them with us.
“I think she was surprised when we said no. People think we have this endless resource that we can deal with any issue whatsoever.
“She was left with some advice about what police can and can’t do.
“This sort of thing takes an operator away from potentially life or death situation.”