Thieves steal ambulance sirens

An ambulance outside Sunderland Royal Hospital's Accident and Emergency department.
An ambulance outside Sunderland Royal Hospital's Accident and Emergency department.
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SIRENS, stethoscopes, petrol and even an emergency vehicle were among the items stolen from the ambulance service, the Echo can reveal.

A satnav unit and headlights were taken from Pallion, a helmet from Houghton and morphine was pinched in Washington, the shocking report showed.

The North East Ambulance Service was the target of nearly 100 thefts between 2006 and 2010, with thousands of pounds worth of equipment taken.

The number of offences increased from eight in 2008 to 25 in 2010, the figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed.

Only four out of the 100 items stolen were ever recovered and only one arrest was made.

A spokesman for North East Ambulance Service said: “Any theft from an ambulance is a serious matter.

“Taking satnav equipment or a mobile phone from a vehicle could hamper the paramedic, though we do have alternative means of navigation or communication should this happen.

“We have a fleet of more than 500 vehicles which means the number of thefts is comparatively small. Nonetheless, even if one seemingly innocuous item is taken from an ambulance it could have serious consequences.”

The Echo reported how a group of teenagers broke into an ambulance and stole equipment while paramedics were treating a man who had collapsed in Cleveland Road, Barnes.

As emergency crews battled to bring round John Grievson, after he had suffered a diabetic attack, thieves tore out satellite navigation equipment from the ambulance in 2005.

The 70-year-old did go on to recover but thoroughly condemned the theft.