Some fetishes are just inherently expensive. Pay pigs get off on sending large sums of money to strangers, because it makes them feel like worthless little worms. I’d imagine BDSM is also fairly pricey if you properly go in for all the gear and install a big goth dungeon in your home. Foot fetishes, though, should not fall into this camp. Feet, generally, are free.
It’s impressive, then, that one foot fetishist from Worthing, on England’s south coast, managed to rack up a foot fetish-related bill of £21,000. Less impressively, he did that by making over 1,200 nuisance phone calls to the NHS 111 line – the urgent, but non-emergency, number for the UK health service.
PC David Quayle from Sussex Police said Richard Cove, 45, admitted he “had a sexual foot fetish, which he indulged during most of the calls”, which he added were made “for [Cove’s] own enjoyment and personal benefit”.
It’s not been revealed exactly how Cove managed to move the conversation from “a non-emergency health issue” onto feet 1,200 times, but Sussex Police did confirm that he would pretend to be an elderly woman while speaking to handlers.
Cove’s campaign was surprisingly advanced: police began investigating after members of the public complained of being contacted by clinicians about 111 calls they hadn’t made, meaning he’d gone out of his way to spoof their phone numbers.
Police said that, between April of 2019 and April of 2021, the NHS 111 service identified 1,263 nuisance calls from an individual using “false personal details, false telephone numbers and false ailments”. Many of these calls were followed up on by clinicians, and in some cases ambulances were dispatched.
I don’t think it counts as kink-shaming to say: this is very clearly a bad thing. As David Davis of the South East Coast Ambulance Service told the BBC, “Just one malicious and false call puts lives at risk by diverting our attention and resources away from people in genuine need of our help. The nature of the calls have also caused unnecessary distress to our staff, who are working tirelessly get people the help they require.”
Cove has admitted one count of making malicious communications and will be sentenced on the 13th of September.