'Who would stoop so low?' Thieves target life-saving emergency response vehicle

A life-saving vehicle has been targeted by thieves, leaving it with damage which could have stopped emergency workers reaching stricken patients.

John Mackenzie from Central Garage with Tracey Prosser from the First Responders, whose car is being fixed for free
John Mackenzie from Central Garage with Tracey Prosser from the First Responders, whose car is being fixed for free

The catalytic converter was stolen from a first responder's vehicle in Hope Bowdler, Church Stretton, leaving volunteers Tracey and Warren Prosser facing a £1,000 bill.

Thankfully for them, the team at Central Garage in Church Stretton have agreed to fix the vehicle free of charge, although Tracey couldn't believe what had happened.

"I've been a first responder for 13 years and the car has always been parked there," she said. "I've been on call with it and it's drinking petrol. It got through half a tank in a day.

"We're doing this voluntarily and we've got to fund raise to keep the car on the road. It's not been easy to do that because of Covid."

Warren added: "This car is a life saving car. This has been reported to the police with CCTV. I hope who ever did this is proud of themselves."

Colleagues from Telford First Responders shared their disgust on social media, saying: "We’re so angry to hear that our friends at Church Stretton CFRs have had the catalytic converter stolen from their vehicle.

"Who’d stoop so low as to steal from a charity funded ambulance vehicle? Hopefully West Mercia Police will be asking them that question very soon!"

Tracey is grateful to Central Garage for helping them save on costs. "It's really good of them," she added. "We still need to fund raise so we'd be most grateful to anyone who can help."

Inspector Rachel Ryan of West Mercia Police said: “We are investigating reports of a catalytic converter theft from a first responder’s vehicle in the early hours of Friday, February 25 in Hope Bowdler. If anyone has any information regarding the theft then please contact police quoting incident number 462i of 25 February.

“In recent months there have been a number of reported catalytic converter thefts from vehicles across the West Mercia Police force area and last month we seized a large quantity of catalytic converters from a property in Shrewsbury following a targeted operation.

“I’d like to reassure the community that we are working hard to prevent such crimes and there are steps motorists can also take to try and reduce the chance of your vehicle being targeted by thieves. If you do notice any suspicious activity where individuals are pulling up next to cars and interfering with a vehicle we would ask you to get in touch with us.

“Catalytic converters have expensive components, including platinum, which make them attractive to thieves. It can take a thief less than three minutes to remove a catalytic converter from its housing on the car exhaust pipe but there are a number of ways the public can protect their property.”

Tips on how to protect your vehicle include keeping it in a garage if you can, installing motion activated lighting on your driveway, and getting locks fitted to your converter.

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