Heartless thieves have stolen catalytic converters from the cars of NHS workers.
According to Stoke On Trent Live, staff at Royal Stoke University Hospital returned to their cars after a tough 12-hour shift to find they had been targeted by thieves.
NHS workers are now left without a working vehicle and it will cost them hundreds to fix.
The thefts took place in broad daylight on March 21- Honda Jazz vehicles were targeted and the total number of victims is not yet known.
Staff nurse, Sophy Kuriakose, parked her car at 7.30am and got back to it at 9pm following her shift in the critical care unit.
The 39-year-old said: “I had a long shift. I started to drive my car home and it was making a big noise. I rang my husband and told him something was wrong and slowly managed to drive home, because I live close to the hospital.
“It was the weekend so I had to wait to take it to the garage and they said it will cost £650 to repair. I can’t afford to get it fixed. I’ve got three kids and now I am relying on my husband’s car.
“It’s really heartbreaking. Especially with COVID-19 we are really struggling at work. I’m working with patients that have it. It is really stressful so to come out and find my car like this… the whole world is struggling now and people should not be doing it. It’s terrible. They really should be punished.”
Joby Peter, of Westbury Park, is also a staff nurse looking after elderly patients.
The 41-year-old left his vehicle parked at the hospital between 7am and 8pm.
He said: “When I started my car it made a big noise.
“I realised what had happened, because one of my colleagues had told me it had happened to her a few months ago. It’s unbelievable and frustrating. One of my colleagues rang me and it had also happened to her the same day. There are probably more I don’t know about.
“I took the car to the garage and when they looked at it there is a lot of damage underneath. It is going to cost £800 to £900 so I had to bring it back without getting it repaired.
“I can’t even think about how someone would do this to someone parked at the hospital. They are not thinking about this crisis we are having. We are so stressed about our health and the patients we are looking after.”
Thieves also targeted 36-year-old Nini Albert’s Honda Jazz.
She was working on a Covid-19 ward when the incident happened- she left her car parked near the hospital between 7.30am and 7.30pm and returned to find the same situation as her colleagues
Her husband Albert Jacob, aged 38, said: “It’s horrible that someone is doing this. While she hasn’t got her car I have to drop her off at work. I work in Tesco Express so I am also working all the time. We will have to spend £500 to get the car fixed.
“It has made me so angry, I can’t sleep now. I want everyone to know people are doing this to NHS workers.”
‘Some of these vehicles belong to key-workers and it is disappointing to see that they have been targeted’
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust has stepped up security patrols at the Royal Stoke to try to prevent any more thefts.
A spokesman said: “It’s very sad that these incidents take place at all, but especially during a time of extra challenge to the NHS when all of our staff are working even harder to provide care.
“We have reviewed CCTV footage of the incidents and are working with the police to investigate the matters further. We have also increased the number of security patrols on the hospital site in light of these events. We would continue to ask all staff and visitors to the trust to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to our security team.”
Staffordshire Police are looking into the hospital thefts as part of ‘operation icy’.
Chief Inspector Simon O’Donnell said: “Some of these vehicles belong to key-workers and it is disappointing to see that they have been targeted during a time when we should all be pulling together to support them.
“An investigation into these reports is underway and inquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible.”
The operation was launched at the end of 2019, after an increase in tool and catalytic converter thefts.
Officers will patrol hot-spot areas and stop anyone they deem to be suspicious.
Anyone who sees any suspicious behaviour or anyone has any information regarding these particular crimes should call the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
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