SHOCKING: Intensive care paramedic Ron Sommer inspects the damage to one of the ambulances after it was attacked. Photo: Adam Hourigan
SHOCKING: Intensive care paramedic Ron Sommer inspects the damage to one of the ambulances after it was attacked. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Vandals could cost lives

AN 18-YEAR-old Ulmarra man who allegedly caused an estimated $5000 worth of damage to two ambulances has been bailed to appear in Grafton Local Court next month.

Police said the man damaged the vehicles about 11pm on Sunday in Bent St near the Crossroads.

Grafton duty officer Inspector Joanne Reid said it appeared the man had called 000 before the incident.

"The ambulance got there before we arrived and the man threw rocks and a wheelie bin at them," she said.

"They backed off until we arrived and we nabbed him."

NSW Ambulance reported two vehicles were damaged in the alleged attack: the first ambulance sustaining damage to the bonnet and side panel while a warning beacon was knocked off; the second ambulance sustained extensive scratches to the bonnet and passenger window, and damage to the driver's side door.

Duty operations manager Northern Rivers Scott Acton said one of the vehicles had to be temporarily taken off the road so it could be forensically examined by NSW Police.

Inspector Acton said any act of vandalism against an ambulance was an act of recklessness which had the potential to cost a life.

"An ambulance is a piece of life-saving equipment and any damage inflicted has the potential to either have the vehicle detained or, worse, taken off the road. This means one less ambulance available to respond to emergency situations," Insp Acton said.

He said NSW Ambulance would not condone any form of aggression or threatening behaviour against paramedics.

"Such behaviour is not only unacceptable, it's a criminal act. Acts of physical violence constitute assault; intentionally obstructing or hindering a paramedic can incur a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years."

The man will front Grafton Local Court on March 3 on two malicious damage charges.



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