More ambulances attacked by vandals

AMBULANCE bosses have hit out at mindless vandals targeting emergency vehicles in the region for their high-tech navigation system.Since an ambulance on a 999 call in Ipswich was vandalised in October, three more have been attacked in Norwich.

AMBULANCE bosses have hit out at mindless vandals targeting emergency vehicles in the region for their high-tech navigation system.

Since an ambulance on a 999 call in Ipswich was vandalised in October, three more have been attacked in Norwich.

But ambulance bosses today told them “You're wasting your time.”

The ambulances have been stripped of their dash-mounted screens.

The latest theft was at 2.53am on Sunday while an ambulance was attending an incident at Breckland Road, Norwich.

And it follows a spate of similar incidents across the country as thieves target emergency vehicles.

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On October 27, thieves ripped a satellite navigation system out of an ambulance as paramedics examined a woman who had fallen over at home in Morland Road. The dashboard was badly damaged as the thieves attempted to steal the valuable equipment.

But East Anglian Ambulance Service head of logistics Mark Wade said the units were of no use to anyone but the service.

“We think that people are targeting ambulances in the mistaken belief that our satellite navigation systems are self-contained in one unit, rather like the portable Navman and TomTom systems,” he added.

“This is not the case. Our systems have a screen on the dashboard with the main part of the unit hidden away in an inaccessible part of the ambulance.

“It would probably take someone an hour to remove it, even if they knew where it was. And without it, the screen is useless.”

Mr Wade said the damage ran to hundreds of pounds every time a system was stolen.

“We obviously have to replace the screen and sometimes the dashboard is badly damaged,” he added.

“But there's also the time involved and the fact that, for the rest of the shift, the crew has no access to the satellite navigation system.

“We can guide them into locations using our control centre satellite tracking systems, but that obviously diverts control staff away from their other duties.

“The number of incidents involving vandalism to ambulances seems to be rising at an alarming rate and, as well as costing money, these people are potentially putting lives at risk.”

If anyone has any information about the thefts they should contact Norfolk Police on 0845 4564567 or Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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