The Welsh Ambulance Services Trust (WAST) reported the incident yesterday, calling the ambulance theft “an extremely irresponsible act”. Emergency crews were able to send another vehicle to assist the stranded paramedics, and the stolen ambulance was later found abandoned.
Lee Brooks, Director of Operations at the trust, described the theft as an act of “mindless stupidity”.
In a post to Twitter, he added: “A stolen vehicle could have stolen a life!”
The incident occurred in the Shotton area of Flintshire in north-east Wales.
The ambulance service said the vehicle was found abandoned after the theft
The WAST confirmed North Wales Police are investigating the incident, with forensic investigators sent to scour the stolen ambulance for clues.
The police service is encouraging anyone with information on the theft to get in touch.
The ambulance service did not provide any information regarding any damage to the vehicle or on the patient to which they were attending.
The paramedics were sent another vehicle after the ambulance was stolen
However, it said: “Had the crew needed to access additional emergency equipment from the vehicle, or to urgently convey the patient to hospital, this act could have led to very serious harm.
“Our services have been extremely busy dealing with winter pressures, alongside the challenges of the pandemic.
“We will be supporting our North Wales Police colleagues to find the person responsible, and bring them to justice. This is a very rare occurrence but is being treated incredibly seriously.”
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The ambulance theft comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic
People have taken to social media to express fury at the incident.
One said: “This is a despicable act. Sorry, but your statement is not strong enough. This beyond ‘extremely irresponsible’ by any definition.”
Another wrote: “What’s wrong with people? How in anyone’s mind can this be okay?
“The ambulance staff are working so hard in challenging times and we should be supporting them, not stealing the vehicle that could save your life.”
What’s wrong with people? How in anyone’s mind can this be ok. The ambulance staff are working so hard in challenging times and we should be supporting them, not stealing the vehicle that could save YOUR life. Makes me feel sad that this is the world we live in.
— Bethan Harris (@Iambeth2) November 15, 2020
UK coronavirus map
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wales has reported a total of 66,214 confirmed cases and 2,207 suspected COVID-19 deaths.
The Welsh Government is currently considering whether or not to implement a new rule which could make face masks compulsory for secondary school students in the country.
Meanwhile, the ambulance theft follows reports from the US earlier this month that around $1 million worth of personal protective equipment was stolen from a shipping container in Miami, Florida.
PPE is used by health professionals to protect themselves and others
The value of PPE has risen to prominence this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, since medics and other health professionals rely on it in order to do their jobs.
Two suspects were arrested by police in relation to the theft following a tip-off which resulted in a raid on a warehouse.
Inside, police found nearly a dozen pallets of medical gloves which they believe the suspects intended to sell.