North West Ambulance Service is appealing for youths to stop throwing stones at emergency ambulances - before someone is seriously hurt.
On March 27, a group of youths threw stones at an ambulance on Sharoe Green Lane, near the Royal Preston Hospital.
The ambulance was travelling on blue lights to a patient in a life-threatening condition. The damage was limited to a chip in the windscreen.
Despite being a minor incident, the ambulance service warns that this kind of vandalism is turning into a dangerous trend which could have severe consequences for NWAS staff or patients.
March 2019 has seen three incidents in the county where youths throwing stones at emergency ambulances has caused disruption.
North West Ambulance Service is appealing to them to stop before someone is seriously hurt.
Previous incidents have happened on the A6 in Stockport and West Derby, Liverpool, where stones were thrown at an ambulance carrying a sick child. The stone went through an open
window hitting the technician on the head while he was driving on blue lights.
Ged Blezard, director of operations, said: “I would like to ask those throwing the stones at ambulances – how can you be sure that ambulance isn’t
travelling to save the life of someone you care about?
"How do you know that your mum, dad, grandparent or sibling isn’t in a life-threatening situation and waiting desperately for that ambulance to arrive?
"You are delaying critical help to our patients, you are risking the lives of our staff and our patients. If the stone throwing results in serious injury or at worse, a death, you could find yourself in serious trouble and facing a lengthy prison sentence.”
In November last year, the trust launched a campaign highlighting the growing problem of violence and aggression towards ambulance staff.
Using the hashtag #GetBehind999, the trust opened an online pledge where people could show their support to end violence towards ambulance staff and businesses could receive posters to display in their premises. The pledge is still open to signatures through http://www.nwas.nhs.uk/stop-abuse
NWAS staff have reported more than 730 cases of physical or verbal assaults in the last 12 months and this spate of stone throwing adds a worrying dimension to what they already face when out trying to help the community.
Ged added: “We urgently appeal to these people – stop now before you really hurt someone. Think about who may be in that ambulance or who that ambulance is going to.”