Emergency ambulances were sent out around North Devon almost 360 times across the bank holiday weekend, the Gazette can reveal.

South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) figures show 358 emergency responses from Saturday, August 25 to Bank Holiday Monday – a slight fall from 370 in 2017.

Across Devon the service responded to 1,797 calls, including 1,309 in the rural areas of North, East and West Devon combined.

A SWASFT spokesman said: “We experienced a busy long weekend, despite receiving fewer calls than we anticipated.”

There were 7,733 calls throughout the South West region – stretching from Wiltshire to Cornwall.

It is a six per cent decrease on the total number of calls in the August bank holiday last year, when the figure was 8,227 and Devon-wide saw 110 more incidents needing a response.

But the average of almost 2,600 emergency calls each day this year requiring an ambulance meant it was still a hectic weekend for paramedics.

It follows SWASFT’s campaign leading up to the August bank holiday to reduce unnecessary 999 calls, encouraging the public to call NHS 111 with non-life threatening issues.

“The reduced number of calls may have been in part down to our campaign,” the trust spokesman added.