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April 18, 2011

Life-saving equipment stolen from UK ambulance

Derby Evening Telegraph

DERBYSHIRE, U.K. — A LIFE-SAVING piece of equipment that went missing from an ambulance may have been stolen while it was at the Royal Derby Hospital.

It was noticed that the defibrillator had disappeared as the 999 crew responded to emergencies around south Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Police said it was unclear when it was taken but it is thought thieves spotted an opportunity when the crew were away from the vehicle.

The ambulance had mainly been in south Nottinghamshire but did also go to the Royal Derby Hospital.

The defibrillator was stolen while ambulance staff were out and about on duty between 7am and 7pm on April 10. It can administer electrical pulses to the heart for patients suffering a cardiac arrest.

The incident has been described as a "grave offence" with "fatal consequences" by police.

PC Karl Barlow said: "At the start of each shift, the ambulance crew fill their vehicle with essential equipment, which includes a defibrillator.

"At some point during the crew's shift, the defibrillator was stolen.

"It is unclear when it was taken however it is possible thieves spotted an opportunity when the ambulance staff were responding to an emergency and were away from their vehicle.

"Any theft is serious, however stealing a life-saving piece of equipment from an ambulance is a grave offence, which could have had fatal consequences had the paramedics needed to use it and it had been stolen."

A spokesperson for the East Midlands Ambulance Service said: "We would urge anyone who can help us locate this equipment to get in touch with the police.

"It's of no practical use to anyone other than a trained medic and will cost us many thousands of pounds to replace."

Copyright 2011 Derby Evening Telegraph

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