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Bedfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a number of gas cylinders were stolen from ambulances as they were parked at Bedford Hospital.
There have been four thefts recently with the offenders targeting ambulances that have pulled up outside the Accident & Emergency Department of Bedford Hospital in Ampthill Road in Bedford.
The first offence occurred on Monday 17th December sometime between 6.30pm and 9pm. The offenders gained access to a locker on the vehicle and removed a portable gas and air cylinder. The following day – Tuesday 18th December - sometime between 12.30pm and 1pm, another cylinder was removed from an ambulance which had just brought a patient to the hospital. On Wednesday 19th December at 7.45pm an offender climbed into the back of an ambulance and removed a gas and air cylinder and a similar theft took place between 7pm and 7.20pm on Thursday 20th December.
An East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) spokeswoman said the gas is given to patients for pain relief but can be lead to brain damage in the wrong hands.
"A strong warning should be sent out as the people who target ambulances for these canisters are actually dealing with a dangerous gas when used incorrectly,” she said. "They run the risk of serious brain damage and it can become addictive."
Sergeant Mick Case, who is investigating the thefts, is keen to speak with anyone who was in the Ampthill Road area when any of these thefts took place and may have seen something suspicious. He is also particularly keen to speak with a male wearing a grey hooded top who was seen in Millbrook Road prior to the theft which took place on Tuesday 18th December.
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