The 999 phone line was "extremely busy" in Essex during hot weather this weekend, the county's police force has warned.

On Saturday, July 9, call handlers in Essex Police's force control room received almost 2000 calls and handled 330 emergency-grade incidents.

Despite receiving a high number of calls, staff in Chelmsford received several inappropriate 999 calls - including a report about a 10-hour-long noisy party and two calls about criminal damage to the same victim's car.

Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Norcott, of Essex Police, said: "When others were enjoying the sunny weather yesterday, call handlers were here, answering calls quickly, assessing potentially volatile situations and directing officers to incidents very quickly and all within a matter of minutes.

"I am very proud of their achievements and the efforts they go to everyday.

"But to be able to maintain those standards, I want to ask the public to help us by choosing the correct service we offer.

"If you need to contact us about something that is not an emergency, please do not dial 999.

"You may prevent call handlers from answering a call from someone who finds themselves in a real emergency."

DCI Norcott added: "They work hard each and every day, making sure all our communities get the help and support they need, when they need it.

"Their professionalism and desire to keep everyone safe is incredible to watch."

According to Essex Police, the 270-strong force control room team handled 1,145 calls to the emergency 999 number.

These were all answered within 11 seconds.

The calls about the noisy party and criminal damage would have been better suited for the non-emergency 101 number, a force spokesperson said.

During the hot weather, temperatures soared into the high 20s in Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Stansted on Saturday.

Nationwide, the Met Office recorded its highest reading at London Heathrow Airport - where the mercury hit 27.5C.

In north-west Essex, the Met Office forecasts highs of 30C on Monday, 29C on Tuesday and 25C on Wednesday.

The long-range forecast for the period Friday, July 15 until Sunday, July 24 suggests temperatures will remain high.

It reads: "On Friday, England and Wales can expect to see dry and sunny conditions with light winds, while across Scotland and Northern Ireland, scattered showers are likely.

"Through the weekend and early next week, sunny and dry conditions will prevail for most under the influence of high pressure, though showers and stronger winds are likely across the northwest at times.

"Thundery showers are occasionally possible in the south and southwest too.

"Away from the northwest, temperatures will rise through the weekend, with most areas becoming very warm or hot by Sunday, with the potential for a very hot spell in parts of central, south, or east England.

"The latter part of this period may then see cooler and more widely unsettled conditions returning across the UK."