LIQUID nitrogen, laptops, medical equipment and even Christmas presents are just some of the items stolen from Sunderland hospitals.
In the last five years, more than £30,000-worth of property has been taken with £13,000 stolen in 2009/10 alone.
A Freedom of Information Act request by the Echo showed thieves had targeted the WRVS hospital shop, taking more than £500-worth of stock from the charity.
The shoplifters actually returned five times to steal from the volunteer run cafe during 2009/10.
The WRVS, which has existed for more than 70 years and recruits volunteers to help support older people, uses the money from the shop to fund equipment and services.
Some of the thefts from the NHS trust which includes Sunderland Royal included £450 of liquid nitrogen, £4,440 in laptops, a £3,500 digital projector and a £250 ultrasound machine.
Other items stolen were £50-worth of wrapped Christmas presents, more than £5,000 in cash, a £2,500 steam cleaner and £100-worth of pillows.
A three-piece microwavable rice cooker, two dictaphones, two kettles and a £400 trolley were also on the list.
Some smaller items taken were £8 flowers, £2 of medication, £10 of nappies, a £5 kettle and £48 leather gloves.
A City Hospitals Sunderland spokesman said: “Because of the nature of a hospital site – a hugely busy environment with large numbers of patients, visitors and staff coming and going on a 24-hour basis, security is a major priority.
“Patients and staff are regularly made aware of its importance, and urged to safeguard their belongings, and those of the trust.”
He added: “Specific areas of the hospital such as A&E, have additional systems in place to protect staff and patients and their property.
“All staff are expected to use their identity badges and swipe cards at all times, and the importance of locking office doors when staff are away from their desks, is paramount.
“Security staff work closely with the police and CCTV cameras monitor all sites.”