Shropshire Star

Thieves 'put lives at risk' after breaking into Newport Fire Station and damaging 999 vehicle

Firefighters are appealing for information after callous burglars put their fire engine out of action for two days during a break-in.

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Newport Fire Station on Salters Lane was broken into in the early hours of Monday.

After forcing a door, the burglars gained access to the fire engine and ripped out the thermal imaging camera. The act caused damage to the fire engine's electrics, which meant it was off the road for around 48 hours.

Watch manager Charlie Cartwright explained: "On Monday morning at roughly 1.15am we were targeted by at least two thieves. They gained entry into our station by forcing open a door and causing damage to the door and its fixings.

Watch manager Charlie Cartwright at Newport Fire Station

"They then gained access into the fire engine, ripping out the thermal imaging camera and its charger as well as taking our pieces of service equipment from a storage area.

"Whilst ripping out the thermal camera they caused a short in the wiring making the fire engine unable to start as it caused a fault within the engine management software.

"This took nearly two days to fix, and we were unable to use the fire engine. During this time, we had a call, and this meant that fire engines from neighbouring stations had to attend, putting people’s lives at risk."

Thermal imaging cameras are an indispensable piece of kit for firefighters. They help see through the smoke and monitor a fire's spread, to quickly visualise the plan of attack and locate hot spots.

They can also be used to identify unconscious victims who may be obscured by smoke.

Charlie said the incident is the third time the station had been targeted by thieves. He is now appealing for anyone with information to contact the police on 101.

West Mercia Police confirmed they had attended the station following the incident and that enquiries were ongoing.

A spokesperson said: "We received a call on the 19 February with a report of a burglary at the fire station, Salters Lane in Newport. Officers attended the incident to find entry had been made and items taken."