Police in Lancashire have resorted to pleading with people on Facebook and Twitter not to report traffic problems caused by last minute Christmas shoppers.
Officers posted on the social networking sites to say they were aware of the delays in Preston city centre on Saturday.
They said repeated calls to its 999 and 101 numbers were preventing people from reporting 'genuine' emergencies.
The post, from the Preston Police account, said: "We are aware of the congestion around Butler Street and the Fishergate Centre.
"This is due to the time of year and unfortunately have no powers in relation to this.
"Please don’t ring 999 or 101 to report this as it is preventing genuine emergency calls from coming in."
It is not clear how many calls have been received by police about the traffic problems but residents responded online with shock that people would report the delays to police.
Drew Gale wrote: "People actually call 999 because of congestion? Wow."