A 23 year-old woman in distress living in the city of Surrey in British Columbia received support from Surrey Police after she rang the UK police force by mistake on Christmas Day.

Ellie Benson, a contact centre operator, was monitoring Surrey Police’s social media channels early on Christmas morning when she got a message from a person in distress.

The person, who has not been named, was based in the city of Surrey on the west coast of Canada and was trying to contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

According to the contact centre operator, Surrey Police gets “a number of messages” from people who have mixed up Surrey, England with Surrey, Canada.

In what Surrey Police has described as “an amazing coincidence”, a police officer from Toronto Police happened to be staying with a school friend and Surrey Police operator at the time and had come in to observe.

PC Rowe called her Vancouver counterparts and police were able to find the woman alive before taking her to hospital.

The Toronto Police officer who lived in the UK until the age of 17 said the idea of joining her friend Vanessa Reynolds at work for the day “wasn’t a hard sell”.

She said: “While in the kitchen area, I was approached by Jake and asked if I could assist on an incoming radio call that involved a Canadian Police Service.

“She was clearly distraught, and having suicidal thoughts.

“I reached out to my colleagues in Toronto. I spoke with an officer at my division, and outlined the situation that was unfolding.”

PC Rowe said she was “delighted” to hear from an officer in Canada that the caller had been found and was being given the help she needed.

Assistant Chief Constable Nev Kemp said: “Although the woman lived on the other side of the world, it’s the police’s duty to help those when they need it.

“It’s a lucky coincidence that PC Rowe was on attachment at the time and was able to provide assistance by speaking to their colleagues in Canada that we were able to reach the woman quickly.

“This just goes to show that where saving a life is concerned borders and time zones don’t matter and we will do what we can to help our friends in blue around the world.”

Whatever you're going through, you can call the Samaritans for free any time, from any phone on 116 123.