Thieves stole defibrillators from seven ambulances in Thanet last night (September 17).
Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are now appealing to the public for information which could help catch the culprits.
The ambulances were all targeted while they were parked at Thanet Ambulance Station in Haine Road, Ramsgate.
Detective Sergeant Simon Harrold of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said officers were pursuing a number of lines of enquiry.
‘Lives at risk’
He said: “It appears that the thieves levered the back doors of the ambulances open to gain access to the defibrillators.
“Thefts like this put lives at risk because these ambulances cannot operate fully and provide an emergency service without these vital pieces of equipment.”
Detectives believe the offenders would have needed a vehicle to transport the defibrillators as they are bulky items weighing around 10 kilos each.
DS Harrold said: “We are urging anyone with information about the thefts, or who saw suspicious activity in the area on Sunday night, to contact us.
“We would also like to hear from anyone who has seen or been offered second-hand defibrillators for sale.”
Thefts of defibrillators are on the rise across the country because they have a high resale value.
DS Harrold added:”‘We urge organisations looking for second-hand defibrillators to always ask for the serial numbers first so they can check they are legitimate.”
SECAmb operating unit manager for Thanet, Giovanni Mazza, said: “Following on from other thefts across our region in recent months, lives have once again been put at risk by this disgraceful act targeting vital life-saving equipment. We are working closely with police following the theft from Thanet and would urge anyone with any information whatsoever to come forward.”
Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to phone Kent Police on 01843 222289 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting reference number 18-0166.