An investigation has been launched after a hoax call saw seven fire engines sent out needlessly.

Firefighters from Maiden Newton were called to Dorchester at 12.40am on Tuesday morning with six other fire engines to reports of a fire at a shop in High East Street.

The knock-on effect meant a total of 10 fire service vehicles were needlessly deployed.

Group Manager, Andy Cole, said: “A total of six appliances and the aerial ladder platform were dispatched to the incident and on arrival discovered that this was not a genuine fire or emergency and in fact a hoax call. Dorset Police also attended this incident and the matter has now been left with them.”

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “We received a report from the fire service at 12.46am on Tuesday, August 6, relating to a number of hoax calls falsely claiming a there was a fire in High East Street, Dorchester.

“We are continuing to make enquiries into the incident. No arrests have been made at this stage.”

Several fire stations, who helped respond to the initial callout, took to social media to vent their anger at the hoax call.

A spokesman for Maiden Newton Fire Station said: “Last night we were called to Dorchester with six other fire engines with the knock-on effect seeing a total of 10 fire service vehicles needlessly deployed.

“Not many things get us angry but wasting the time of the emergency services is one.

“Keep us available to attend real emergencies and this applies to our ambulance and police colleagues as well.”

Meanwhile, a firefighter from Dorchester Fire Station said: “We echo the feelings and what our colleagues from Maiden Newton have posted about one of our ‘shouts’ last night. This tied up two pumps from Dorchester as well as one from Maiden Newton, Weymouth and other pumps and specialist appliances.

“It doesn’t stop there, other crews were mobilised for standby duties at Dorchester and other stations to cover the shortfall in fire cover whilst we investigated this hoax call.

“Apart from the obvious cost of resources being deployed, it stretches the service and ties up appliances which could have been used elsewhere.”

Just two weeks ago, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service warned people not to make hoax calls to the service after encountering a malicious caller.

A fire spokesman said at the time: "I don't know how many times we have to say it, please do not make hoax calls.

"They divert valuable resources away from incidents that may really need them."

The service continues to reiterate warnings against malicious calls.

“Making hoax and malicious calls is a criminal offence. Such calls tie up emergency crews so they are not available for real, potentially life-threatening incidents.

“The fire and rescue service receives dozens of such calls every year, made from payphones, mobile phones and landlines. We also have issues with people deliberately smashing break-glass alarm points.

“Malicious callers are not only an enormous drain on resources; their thoughtless behaviour endangers the lives and safety of the public.

“All calls to our control room are recorded and can be instantly traced back to the caller. This doesn’t just apply to landlines; even calls from payphones and mobiles are taped and can be traced. The 141 function or equivalent does not block the number when you call 999.”