A 21-year-old man from St Neots has been arrested after the main switchboard at Cambridgeshire police HQ was jammed by thousands of calls on Friday.
Concerned callers rang the Huntingdon-based HQ after receiving an email informing them that £399.99 would be taken out of their account to pay for an iPod music player they'd supposedly ordered.
The email also advised recipients that they should call the number listed in the email if they had any queries. The snag was that the number did not belong to some ecommerce outfit, but to Cambridge Police HQ. Its phone lines were jammed.
At the height of the deluge the HQ received more than 500 calls an hour as callers phoned to find out why they were being billed for something they hadn't ordered.
On Friday, deputy chief constable Alan Given said: "This appears to be a deliberate attempt to affect the service provided by the force.
"If you have received such an e-mail we would advise you to ignore it and not ring the number of customer services that is listed.
"However, you should monitor your bank statement and if a similar amount is taken from it, contact your local force as soon as possible."
Police today confirmed that the number of calls has tailed off considerably over the weekend.
A 21-year-old man from St Neots has been arrested and released on police bail in connection with the incident. He is due to report back to police in March. ®