Stretcher thieves condemned

THIEVES made off with stretchers from an ambulance storage depot - before returning just hours later to steal even more of the equipment, which is vital to paramedic training.

THIEVES made off with stretchers from an ambulance storage depot - before returning just hours later to steal even more of the equipment, which is vital to paramedic training.

The East of England Ambulance Service last night described the thefts from the depot at the Milford service area of the A11 near Mildenhall as “low”.

The first raid happened between October 24 and 27 when a number of stretchers, some of which were in parts, were stolen.

Then, between 7pm on October 27, and 7am on Monday, another break-in was reported with thieves having taken the last remaining stretcher.


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Because some of the stretchers were housed in segments, the service was unable to state exactly how many were taken.

But among the stretcher parts taken were three complete stretchers used for training purposes.

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Stretchers cost hundreds of pounds each, and the three training stretchers will now have to be replaced.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Stealing something from the ambulance service is fairly low and we would be grateful to anybody who is approached in the scrap industry with these items (to report it).

“We will have to replace them because we have to train our paramedics. The items were taken from our depot workshop.

“We use the three complete stretchers for training staff. We will now have to find three more for training purposes.”

Stretcher thefts are rare, the spokesman said, though the service has experienced an increase in thefts of computerised items such as satellite navigation systems from its ambulances.

The spokesman added thieves making off with the service's computer navigation devices were in for a disappointment.

He said: “People think they are the portable ones when in fact they are not, they are built into the ambulance vehicle and our service's system.

“So unless they run the same navigation system, they will be useless.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: “The location where this crime occurred is by the A11 and there is a layby nearby where lorries sometimes park up so there is potential for people having seen suspicious activity in the area.”

Anybody who saw anything suspicious should contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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