Paramedic injured and windscreen smashed as ambulance crews attacked repeatedly in Sunderland

Ambulance crews on blue light calls to life threatening incidents have come under what is believed to be deliberate attack four times in Sunderland during the last week.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 2:26 pm

Objects were hurled at the vehicles, leaving one worker injured, a windscreen shattered and a wing mirror ripped off on another occasion.

The crews and North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) chiefs have spoken of their shock and fury, while a 48-year-old man is today in the custody of Northumbria Police after being arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

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Vehicles were left damaged following a series of attacks on ambulance crews in Sunderland during the last week.

The incidents were:

*Last Friday, June 25, on Chester Road at 1.48pm when an object just missed the driver’s side of the windscreen but destroyed the wing mirror.

The vehicle was off the road for hours while £300 of repairs were carried out, with another crew diverted from another emergency to reach the patient.

*On Tuesday, June 29, a crew were on Chester Road through Penshaw at 1pm when an object struck the windscreen, leaving the passenger paramedic with minor cuts to his face.

One of the NEAS crews was on the A183 Chester Road in Penshaw when it was struck by an object, shattering its windscreen.

The vehicle is off the road while £1,500 of repairs are carried out, while a second crew had to attend the call out.

*On Wednesday, June 30, an object struck an ambulance whilst transporting a patient on Wembley Road in Witherwack at around 9pm, with minor damaged caused.

*At 5.38pm yesterday, Thursday, July 1, an object struck the windscreen of an ambulance on Holborn Road on the Hylton Lane Estate, with the truck escaping any damage.

Vicky Court, deputy chief operating officer at North East Ambulance Service.

The staff involved have asked to remain anonymous, but have spoken of their upset about the attacks.

The clinical care assistant involved in the second incident, who had been driving, said: “It makes you angry; we know how much we were needed by the patient we were travelling to and this has obstructed us from doing that.

"We were then off the road for several hours in order to fill in statements and swap over the vehicles – we could have responded to at least two more patients in that time.”

Her crew mate paramedic added: “As well as endangering our lives and the lives of other road users around us, it could have delayed help for the person we were responding to.

NEAS has spoken out about the attacks, which are under investigation by the police.

"It’s idiotic behaviour which there’s just no excuse for.”

Vicky Court, deputy chief operating officer at NEAS, said: “It is outrageous to think that someone could choose to deliberately target an emergency vehicle, especially one travelling at speed on blue lights which is clearly responding to a patient in need.

“Thankfully our windscreens are reinforced with protective glass which prevented serious injury, but this could have been a very different story.

“We are supporting all the members of staff involved, who are understandably shaken and angry about was has happened, and we have provided the CCTV from these vehicles to our police colleagues in the hope of gaining successful prosecutions.”

Chief Inspector Phil Baker said: “These incidents are concerning and absolutely mindless – they could easily have resulted in serious injury or a fatality.

Glass was left across the cab following the incident on the A183 Chester Road in Penshaw.

“We are working with our partners at NEAS to find those responsible for these attacks and are committed to ensuring those individuals are dealt with appropriately.”

Anyone with information can visit the Tell Us Something page of the force website or call 101 quoting log 20210629-0417.

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A close up of the damage caused by one of the incidents.