Windows smashed, vehicles head butted, and blue lights ripped off - the shocking vandalism on ambulances revealed

A freedom of information request has highlighted the scale of damage caused to ambulances.

A freedom of information request has highlighted the scale of damage caused to ambulances. - Credit: East of England Ambulance Servic

Ambulances have been head butted, kicked, and had blue lights ripped off in shocking acts of vandalism on the emergency vehicles - sometimes while crews have been trying to treat patients.

Thousands of pounds have been spent in the last three years repairing damage done to ambulances and ambulance cars in the East of England.

In one incident, which cost £2,170 to repair, it appeared someone had tried to break in to an ambulance response car while a crew member was on an emergency call and parked in a bus stop.

In another, an object was thrown at an ambulance whilst it was being driven.

And another crew member went to fetch equipment from the response car, only to find two youths had broken both wing mirrors and dented the bodywork while the crew was with a patient.

In some cases it was patients who caused the damage.

In one situation a patient with mental health difficulties was continually banging violently at a passenger side window, then moved to the front of the vehicle, banging on the bonnet and pulling at grill emergency lights.

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In another a patient became “extremely violent” and smashed the inside of the ambulance back door and window.

And a further patient head butted the bonnet of an ambulance twice, causing damage.

In one incident a member of the public, who appeared to be drunk and crossing the road when traffic lights were green, climbed onto an ambulance and kicked it when the crew member sounded his horn.

The reports were revealed in a Freedom of Information request put to East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST), where a spokesman said vandalism had “significant effects”.

They said: “NHS funds have to be used for repairing vehicle and making them roadworthy, but more importantly from a service perspective, a damaged ambulance or response car is off the road and not available for patient care.”

The spokesman said the trust likened damaging vehicles to assaults on ambulance crews, for which new legislation came in last month to make penalties tougher for offenders. The spokesman added: “We would welcome any measures that discourage vandalism on emergency equipment such as ambulance vehicles and public defibrillators.”