Fury after thieves rob ambulance on emergency callout
Thieves have stolen equipment from an ambulance in east Belfast while paramedics responded to a 999 call.
The crew were attending to a man experiencing breathing difficulties in the Ladas Way area of the city yesterday at 1.20am when their ambulance was ransacked.
When paramedics returned to their vehicle they found the doors were open, cupboards had been opened and the screen for the satellite navigation system had been unscrewed and stolen, along with a hand-held digital trunk radio.
John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has appealed for the safe return of the items.
"Words cannot express how disappointed we are that anyone would see fit to steal from an ambulance responding to a 999 call," he said.
"We know that we have the support of the vast majority of people in all areas throughout Northern Ireland.
"But there is always a small minority of people whose actions will reflect badly on the community in which they live.
"However, such acts will not stop us responding to the needs of those who need us most and, it must be said, that may include the families of those who carried out this theft."
East Belfast MP Naomi Long (left) said the robbery was "completely reckless" and "absolutely despicable". "I can't understand the mentality of a person who would steal from an ambulance," the Alliance woman said.
"While these items might not be critical in terms of life-saving, they are critical for the crews getting from A to B in an emergency.
"I would appeal to anyone who is offered these stolen items to contact the police.
"It's important whoever is responsible is held to account."
A PSNI spokesman said: "Two youths are believed to have been in the area at the time of the incident."
The spokesman appealed for anyone with information about suspicious activity in the area at around 1.45am to contact detectives on 0845 600 8000 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.