Callous thieves have targeted an ambulance in Harrogate while paramedics were responding to an emergency call.
The thieves snuck into the ambulance while lifesaving paramedics were helping a patient in Granby in the early hours of Friday morning.
Police have condemned the theft, which they say has put lives at risk for the sake of some stolen torches.
“It beggars belief that anyone would steal from a vehicle used to save people’s lives,” said Sgt Harry Finlay of the Safer Neighbourhood Team.
“I urge anyone with information about this disgraceful crime to contact the police immediately.”
The thieves targeted the ambulance while it was parked outside the Granby Residential Care Home on Granby Road at 2.20 last Friday morning.
They stole a number of yellow torches, damaging the vehicle when they tried to steal the sat-nav system and hand-held radio.
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.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
“This is a problem that we should not have to encounter,” said Mr Bainbridge.
“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.”