An ambulance service is asking people to only call 999 in emergency ahead of a busy bank holiday weekend for staff.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is receiving an average close to 150 extra calls a day this year compared to 2013.

SECAmb received 565,609 calls between January and August 21, up from 530,985 calls during the same period last year.

Paramedic and senior operations manager James Pavey said: "Summer is always a busy time for us but this year it is proving particularly busy.

"We're preparing for another busy bank holiday weekend and need the public to help us.

"In a real emergency we don't want people to hesitate in dialling 999 but where someone isn't in a serious or life-threatening condition we would expect the caller to consider the other options available to them.

"We can help everyone who dials 999 and serious and life-threatening calls will always be assigned an immediate ambulance response but people should be aware that not all the calls we receive will result in us sending an ambulance crew to the scene.

"We can provide clinical advice over the phone - in fact more than 10% of our calls are handled this way - advise someone to make their own way to A&E or perhaps direct a caller to a more appropriate service.

"We'd ask people to be enjoy the rest of the weather this summer has to offer but to be sensible and not unnecessarily increase their chances of having to dial 999."