THIEVES stole the satellite navigation system and other equipment from an ambulance in the middle of an emergency call in North Yorkshire.

Paramedics were responding to an emergency at Granby Residential Home, in Granby Road, Harrogate, at about 2.20am last Friday when thieves broke into the ambulance as it was parked outside.

They stole a number of yellow torches and also damaged the ambulance when they tried to steal the satellite navigation system and the vehicle’s hand-held radio.

Sgt Harry Finlay, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “It beggars belief that anyone would steal from a vehicle used to save people’s lives.

“I urge anyone with information about this disgraceful crime to contact the police immediately.”

Phil Bainbridge, head of emergency operations in North Yorkshire at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Our ability to respond to 999 calls is compromised when thieves break into our emergency vehicles and steal vital equipment.

“The satellite navigation systems we use in the ambulance service are specific to ambulance vehicles and are of no use to members of the public.

“We also immediately block any of the mobile phones and hand-held radios that are stolen, so they are useless for making and receiving calls.

“Offenders are putting people’s lives in danger as vehicles are not able to respond to 999 calls if they are damaged or lacking vital equipment.

“This is a problem that we should not have to encounter. Thieves should consider their actions and think about how this crime is potentially putting people’s lives at risk.

“We will always prosecute and seek compensation from anyone causing criminal damage to our vehicles and our equipment.”

Anyone who can help the police with their inquiries is should phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.