Vandals put ambulance out of action

VANDALS smashed up an ambulance while the crew was out on an incident, putting it out of action for six hours on Saturday night and Sunday morning. It is believed they were trying to steal the vehicle s satellite navigation system. However, these devices

VANDALS smashed up an ambulance while the crew was out on an incident, putting it out of action for six hours on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

It is believed they were trying to steal the vehicle's satellite navigation system.

However, these devices are built in to emergency vehicles and the only item the thieves would have been able to steal would have been the screen, which is useless without the rest of the system.

Ambulance driver Brian Brooker told The Hunts Post he was completely disheartened to return to his ambulance and find the window smashed and the vehicle unfit to drive.

Mr Brooker had been called to The Whaddons in Huntingdon after a man collapsed. Fortunately the man did not need to be taken to hospital, as the ambulance was out of action from 9.30pm to 3am.

"At that time in the evening we were very, very busy and I had the only available motor vehicle," he said. "Then I came out and found it was no longer available.

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"It took five or six hours to sort it out. It was an absolute nightmare. I was not back on the road again until 3am. I had to wait for the police to come, I had to arrange for the vehicle to be taken away and I had to go to Peterborough to get another vehicle and then I had to bring it back (to Hinchingbrooke Hospital) to re-kit it."

He added: "I didn't see or hear anything - all the locals were absolutely disgusted, they were bringing me cups of tea, while I was waiting for the police. They were all very nice and very pleasant but it was very frustrating on a busy Saturday.#

Mr Brooker, 50, a father of four, who lives in Sawtry, has worked for the ambulance service for 21 years.

He said: "I worked in London during the Poll Tax riots and there was never any worry about parking the vehicle. I could go onto the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham during the troubles (where in 1985 there were riots and Pc Keith Blakelock was killed) and there was no hassle, or no-go areas. This is the first time anything like this has happened and it is disheartening."

This is not the first time Mr Brooker has found himself in the spotlight. He was called out on St Patrick's night 2001, when a new-born baby was found on a couple's doorstep in Sawtry, only 500 yards from his own home. The baby was reunited with its mother within days.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: "It's completely unacceptable to vandalise or break into an ambulance vehicle. This type of irresponsible behaviour can cost lives. One day they could need an ambulance themselves."

A police spokesman said a rock had been thrown through the window. House to house enquiries had been carried out and they were appealing for witnesses.

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