Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Medics take refuge from assailant

The crew had to take refuge in the ambulance

An ambulance crew had to take refuge in their vehicle after being attacked by a patient, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has said.

It happened in Portavogie on Friday, but details have just been released.

They were trying to help a man lying on the ground in a car park who jumped up and began to threaten them.

The crew retreated to their ambulance and the man tore off the front grille and tried to reach into the engine. Police were called to assist the crew.

The front wipers and side mirrors of the vehicle were also damaged in the incident.

Police arrested the man but the crew had been shaken by the incident and were unable to continue with the rest of their shift.

The Ambulance Service condemned the attack and said the crew will need time to recover.

"The safety of the communities in the area was compromised as a result of this person's behaviour," the NIAS said in a statement.

"NIAS would therefore call on all community and political representatives to continue with their efforts in ensuring that ambulance personnel enjoy a safe working environment when responding to the community's needs."

The police said that a 46-year-old man was arrested and later released pending reports.

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