MORE than half of all fire calls in North Ayrshire in the last year have been false alarms - costing the taxpayer a staggering £2million, the Times can reveal.

Between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015 fire crews in the area were called to 1,000 incidents which turned out to be false alarms.

Fire chiefs say each false alarm can cost the service an average of £2,000 which means last year alone those 1,000 false alarms cost the service a whopping £2million.

Station Manager Derek Davidson said: “Over the past three years Scotland’s firefighters have been called to more than 100,000 automated false alarms, which equates to over 40 per cent of all the incidents operational crews attend.

“For each fire appliance that mobilises to an incident you are looking at just under £2,000 cost to the taxpayer.” “In addition it pulls our resources to what may be an unwanted fire alarm call which can often be a result of a system fault when we could be required to attend a real life emergency in another area of the local community.

“Just ask yourself how you would feel if a family member or friend of yours was trapped in a house fire but the response to save them was delayed due to a preventable false alarm?” “We are working alongside many companies and organisations to offer support and guidance in relation to a demand reduction strategy so that we can focus our services where they are required without the distraction of non-essential mobilisations.” In all North Ayrshire crews were called out to 1,944 incidents - 51 per cent of which were false alarms, 38 per cent (697 incidents) were to actual fires and 13 per cent (247 incidents) were special services.

The figures come from the Scottish Fire and Rescue service’s annual Performance Report for North Ayrshire between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

While overall all incidents have seen a drop of nine per cent from 2,147 incidents in 2013/2014 to 1,944 in 2014/2015, the huge number of false calls are still proving to be a huge burden on finances.

In North Ayrshire Dreghorn Fire Station attended the highest per centage of call outs, attending more than 31 per cent of incidents.

Kilwinning Fire Station went to more than 23 per cent of all incidents, while Ardrossan Fire Station attended almost 18 per cent.