The Gloucestershire gay helpline has been the victim of a text message scam that is reducing its ability to respond to genuine calls.

Text messages are being sent to random phones asking the recipient to call the free helpline number urgently.

During one day in December over 30 calls were made in one hour.

The Gay and Lesbian Switchboard has also been the victim of similar scam texts.

The Gay-Glos helpline, staffed by trained volunteers, has been providing information, support and assistance to callers since 1989.

Gloucestershire police are investigating the hoax texts.

“Without the details of the people actually receiving these messages there is little we can do to stop victims being worried and distressed,” a Gay and Lesbian Switchboard spokesman told The Gloucestershire Echo.

In March 2006 the National lottery donated £120,000 to Gay-Glos, from a fund allocated to help minority groups living in the UK.

The charity used the grant to create Friendship Support Groups for the over 60s, and a mobile group for young people between the ages of 18 and 25.

The groups offer advice and help to gay people living in the more remote areas of the rural county.

The charity also organises training on LGBT issues.