VANDALS thought to be as young as ten are putting lives at risk by targeting an ambulance station.

A spate of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour has been reported at Fishburn ambulance station, near Sedgefield, County Durham.

The North-East Ambulance Service has warned that the culprits – described as a hard core group of local children – are putting the lives of patients, staff and themselves at risk with their behaviour.

David Edwards, the service’s risk officer and local security management specialist, said the catalogue of incidents could easily have cost someone their life.

The youngsters appear to have tampered with aerials that enable 999 call handlers, the base, vehicles responding to emergency call-outs and hospitals to keep in touch.

They have also interfered with trust and staff vehicles, put themselves in danger by climbing and jumping from the main building’s tiled roof and damaged other electrical equipment.

Mr Edwards said: “We are extremely concerned by what has been happening at Fishburn.

“Tampering with equipment such as aerials and vehicles could easily cost someone their life.”

The latest incident happened on Monday, September 6, when a patient transport service vehicle was damaged while parked on the forecourt.

Other staff and trust vehicles have been interfered with and the perimeter fence, aerial mast wiring, an electrical conductor and health and safety signs have all been damaged.

Durham Police are aware of the problems in and around the station, which the ambulance service believes are down to a hard core group of local youths, some reported to be under ten.

Mr Edwards said: “It appears the vandalism is down to a hard core of local youths who have been carrying out various acts of anti-social behaviour.

“I would urge anyone involved in this type of activity to stop before either they, or someone else, gets hurt.”

Security arrangements at the station are being reviewed and new measures such as the installation of CCTV and anti-climb systems are being considered.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham police on 0345-60-60-365.