String of ambulance stations hit by thefts

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South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is appealing to anyone with information to come forward following a spate of incidents across its region in which £30,000 worth of life-saving equipment has been stolen.

The most recent incident, in what appears to be a targeted campaign, took place at Hastings Make Ready Centre overnight on Saturday June 24.

As the Hastings Observer reported yesterday (Sunday), six ambulances parked outside the centre in Bohemia Road were broken into at around 4.30am.

Two LifePak 15 monitor/defibrillators, costing more than £12,000 each, were stolen, along with two laerdal suction units, costing in excess of £800 each and an ‘EZ-IO’ drill, costing more than £300.

The theft was just one of a string of thefts which have affected ambulance stations across the south east in recent weeks, which SECAmb believes are linked.

Last week vital life-saving equipment was stolen from locations in Dorking, Banstead and Tonham overnight from Wednesday June 21.

Other incidents include:

March 31: Two ambulances vandalised at Thanet, putting them out of action.

May 24: A support vehicles stolen from Thanet. Later found abandoned by police with unrepairable damage.

June 11: Equipment was taken from an ambulance at Ashford, but abandoned when thieves were chased off the premises.

June 13: A number of vehicles had their windows smashed and two Community First Responder bags, training equipment and a defibrillator were stolen from Herne Bay.

June 13: Life-saving equipment stolen from locked vehicles in Sheppey.

A spokesperson for SECAmb said that while every effort had been made to repair and re-stock vehicles as soon as possible, the incidents have had ‘an obvious impact on our ability to respond to patients’.

SECAmb Associate Director of Operations Sue Skelton said: “The theft of this equipment puts lives at risk and each incident places even greater pressure on our already stretched resources.

“We are working closely police on these incidents and would urge anyone with any information whatsoever to come forward.

“It appears that these incidents are part of a targeted campaign against our vehicles and premises.”

Anyone with any information is urged to contact police on 101 quoting serial 0316. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.