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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
'Snipers' target ambulance crews
North East Ambulance Service vehicle
Attacks on crews are a "regular occurrence", it is claimed
Ambulance chiefs have condemned snipers who shot at paramedic crews on Teesside with air weapons.

The North East Ambulance Service said two crews were targeted in separate incidents in Middlesbrough.

No-one was injured in either incident, but damage was caused to two vehicles which were taking patients to hospital.

The attacks come after recent incidents against crews on Tyneside, which included wheelie bins being thrown at staff trying to treat an injured man.

The latest attacks happened in Park Road Middlesbrough and nearby Marton Road.

Criminal offence

Paramedic Mike Bonnett said: "We were on our way to James Cook University Hospital with a patient in the back of the ambulance, when I heard a loud shot and felt a thud to the side of the vehicle.

"It is absolutely disgusting that we are victims of such attacks as we are trying to do our jobs and help people who need emergency treatment."

Paul Liversidge, director of ambulance operations for the North East Ambulance Service, said: "It is a regular occurrence for our staff to be assaulted in one form or another by gangs displaying threatening behaviour and we will not tolerate this."

The service has called for attacks on emergency service staff to be made a separate criminal offence.

Police are investigating both air weapon incidents.


SEE ALSO
Crews relive 'sickening attacks'
03 Oct 06 |  England
Blue lights, dark city
23 Aug 06 |  Magazine
Plan to reduce attacks on crews
21 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Fire crews seeking 'protection'
24 May 05 |  Northern Ireland

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