Warning As 999 Crew’s Gear Stolen

Lives are being put at risk after mindless thieves callously stole an essential piece of communication equipment from an ambulance. Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) crew members were attending a patient at a house on the Bushmills Road, Coleraine, at about 8pm on Saturday when their vehicle was targeted.

Thieves broke into the empty ambulance and removed the communications radio from the vehicle.

A spokesperson for NIAS said it was a devastating blow for the emergency service as it rendered the ambulance unusable.

“This radio is the means by which ambulance control communicates with a mobile crew in order to give them information relating to emergency calls,” he said.

“As such, it is a vital piece of equipment for us and it is of absolutely no use to anyone else.”

The spokesperson appealed for the radio to be returned so that the emergency service could once again run at its optimum level.

“If the person who took the radio is too ashamed to return it themselves, it could be given to a trusted intermediary, such as a member of the local clergy,” said the spokesperson.

After the radio was stolen, paramedics were forced to return to the station to pick up another vehicle. That meant that an ambulance was off the road for over an hour. Whoever stole it could have been involved in an accident during that time and there would have been no way of responding to a call,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Ambulance Service executive officer and Coleraine councillor David Barbour said those behind the “mindless” theft gave the borough a bad name.

“This is absolutely mindless destruction,” he said. “This stigmatises the community and brings a bad name to Coleraine borough.”