St John struck with rocks

By Mike Dinsdale


Ambulances going to emergencies in Moerewa may need a police escort after an ambulance and crew were pelted with rocks in the early hours of the morning after the road through town had been blocked by debris.

Northland St John Ambulance boss Tony Devanney said his staff were getting scared to go to Moerewa, 5km south-west of Kawakawa, after a crew was targeted by "lowlifes" on Thursday morning having dropped a patient off at Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa.

Mr Devanney said the crew and ambulance were heading back to Kerikeri about 4am when they had to stop in the centre of Moerewa as large rocks and debris had been placed on the road. The ambulance officers got out of the vehicle to remove the debris and they and the ambulance came under fire from "idiots" throwing rocks, he said.

"They called the police then backed away, while still getting rocks thrown at them. They then put their lights and siren on and that seemed to stop them throwing rocks," Mr Devanney said.

Police arrived about 10 minutes later but there was no sign of the people who had been throwing the rocks. Mr Devanney said it was fortunate the ambulance was not speeding to an emergency or carrying an injured patient to hospital at the time, but it was still a frightening experience for his staff.

"They were pretty scared, especially with the rocks being thrown. They thought they were going to get physically attacked and there was potential for serious harm," he said.

"If they had been travelling to an emergency, they could have hit the rocks [on the road] and had a serious accident or they could have been carrying a patient. It was a stupid, stupid thing to do, without any thought for others.

"They are just lowlife idiots who are putting people in danger and it could be one of their own who is affected."

He said it might get to the stage where ambulances waited outside the town for a police escort before entering if they got called to the township.

"If it continues we will have to think about that. We might need police protection if we are going there, but we don't want to go down that track because that will lead to delays and could put lives at risk." Kawakawa police are investigating the attack on the ambulance and anybody with information can contact the station on 09 4043150 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555-111.

- Northern Advocate

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