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Jail for man who attacked ambulance during pandemic

12 Jan 2021

A man who vandalised an ambulance, rendering it unusable for a week, has been jailed.

Stephen Neal, 34, walked out in front of the ambulance on St Andrews Street, Cambridge, on Saturday (9 January).

He laid down in the road and blocked the path of the ambulance before attempting to rip off the number plate.

He kicked the front of the vehicle and caused significant damage to the grill and front bumper and shouted at the driver.

When police arrived and spoke to Neal, he said: “Yes, that was me, I did that and I’m not going to stop unless you arrest me.”

The damage to the front of the vehicle meant it was unusable for the rest of the shift.

Neal, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and a public order offence and was remanded to appear at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court via video link yesterday (11 January).

He was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison.

PC Jess Ashford, who investigated, said: “Causing damage to emergency vehicles is utterly unacceptable at any time, but in the middle of a health crisis, it is reckless and unforgivable.

“Neal’s actions have left our colleagues at the ambulance service without a lifesaving vehicle for potentially up to a week.

“The estimated cost of the damage is thought to be around £1,000, but it’s the cost to human life that is perhaps the most shocking. Emergency services staff are stretched to their limits as it is, without having to tolerate mindless abuse and vandalism while trying to do their job.

“I hope the swift actions of police and the courts show how seriously we take these crimes and how hard we will come down on offenders.”

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