Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Ambulance staff spot bombing gear

Medical officers
Ian McGleish and Jayne Gibbons spotted the suspicious equipment

Two alert Scots ambulance workers have explained how they spotted bomb-making equipment on a Taliban fighter brought into a field hospital in Afghanistan.

Sgt Ian McGleish, of North Lanarkshire, and medical assistant Jayne Gibbons, from Stranraer, made the discovery.

The pair, both based in Portsmouth, uncovered a mirror, wires, batteries, electrodes and a thick black notebook.

It led to the equipment being seized and the man being handed over for questioning after his treatment.

The incident happened earlier this month.

We were quite proud that we had caught a man who was potentially making bombs
Jayne Gibbons

Sgt McGleish, 39, of Greengairs, who is based at Portsmouth Naval Base, said he suspected something was wrong when the man pulled a mirror out of his pocket.

He said: "I thought it was a bit strange for a man to take a mirror out of his pocket.

"That was the indicator that something was wrong."

The pair then did a thorough search of his clothing and uncovered the other equipment.

"The equipment was not things a normal civilian would carry," Sgt McGleish explained.

Ms Gibbons, 27, who is usually based at HMS Sultan in Gosport, near Portsmouth, said she was pleased they had been so vigilant.

"We were quite proud that we had caught a man who was potentially making bombs," she said.

Under the Geneva Convention, armed forces have a duty of care towards enemy prisoners.

The hospital at Camp Bastion, the UK's main military base in Helmand, occasionally treats enemy forces that have been wounded.

More alert

They are then handed over to the Theatre Provost Group for questioning.

Ms Gibbons said treating them was no different to treating any other patient but added that medics needed to be more alert.

"At the end of the day he could have been a normal person," she said.

"The Geneva Convention requires us to give the same level of medical treatment as our forces.

"We probably wouldn't get the same back but that's what makes us different to them."

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