Police mounted a sting operation to catch bike thieves who targeted hospital staff during the coronavirus crisis.
Northumbria Police officers made 12 arrests after a spate of thefts at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Appeals for information led kind-hearted members of the public to offer to donate bike to the victims, while officers stepped up patrols.
The city centre policing team set up Operation Monty, with a bike left in a prominent position while being monitored by plain-clothes officers.
Video released by the force showed two thieves stealing bikes from the hospital by violently attacking a lock with a tool.
The operation has been run several times in the last two months, with the force revealing 12 people were arrested during the increased patrols and the sting operation.
Neighbourhood Inspector Karen Madge oversaw Operation Monty and says it was the least they could do to help the hospital staff.
She said: “Our doctors, nurses and hospital workers have been doing an incredible job during the coronavirus pandemic and have put themselves at risk to save the lives of others.
“It has been absolutely appalling to see these NHS heroes targeted by thieves and we have been putting measures in place to prevent this from happening and to safeguard their property.
“One of those measures was Operation Monty and I am delighted that this sting operation has been such a massive success, securing property and bringing suspects in to custody.”