Police are appealing for information after medical equipment was stolen from an Ambulance deployed to Coundon near Bishop Auckland.

The incident occurred shortly before 1am yesterday morning (February 11) on Wharton Street.

It is believed the suspect accessed the parked and unattended NEAS ambulance and once inside removed two medical bags containing vital lifesaving equipment.

Due to the loss of kit, the ambulance had to be taken off the road for the remainder of the shift.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “This is an appalling crime at any time, particularly at a time when emergency services are already so stretched.

“We are really keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident, with their help we can bring the offender to justice.”

Paul Liversidge, deputy chief executive at North East Ambulance Service, said: “The thought of anyone breaking into one of our vehicles whilst a crew is saving a life is truly shocking.

“This incident led to us having to send a second ambulance to the patient the crew was treating in order to finish treatment, which meant it was unavailable for someone else in need in the local area.

“It also meant the crew were unavailable to attend any more patients until they had changed vehicles and filled in the police report, once again impacting on our ability to respond. Not to mention the cost involved to our service in replacing life-saving equipment.

“If you know who did this, I would urge you to please contact the police so we can bring them to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Ashley on 101 quoting incident number 12 of February 11.