An ambulance officer's car was broken into and items stolen while he was attending a nightshift callout in Levin on Friday.
The car was parked on St John Ambulance station land on the corner of Seddon and Rina Streets while the officer attended an emergency in the area.
Horowhenua territory manager Paul Haigh said the break-in was "abhorrent".
"Our people are out there saving lives," he said. "They live and work in this community and are here to support the people of this town. To have someone from this community do that is terrible."
Haigh said that some time overnight on Friday the officer's car had the rear quarterlight window broken and a jacket, briefcase and comprehensive first aid kit were taken from inside.
The briefcase contained files related to the officer's work as a station manager for another St John Ambulance station in Horowhenua.
He said the organisation was now having to look at considerable expense to buy and install security cameras to monitor the parking area and station, as it was not the first time he had heard about cars being broken into there.
"As a charity ambulance organisation we shouldn't be having to spend money on security measures when we're protecting the people of that town," he said.
Haigh said the irony was that if the offender had cut themselves while breaking the glass on the car window, St John Ambulance would have been the ones who would be there to help.
He said he felt the break-in was particularly low, even amongst the many car break-ins that occur in Horowhenua on a regular basis, and the officer had felt the chances of any resolution on the theft were remote as police had so many thefts and break-ins to deal with already.
St John Ambulance's services are only partly funded by the government, with community donations, fundraising, revenue from commercial activities and volunteer contributions making up the shortfall.
The Levin branch is part of St John's Central Region, one of three in the country that "work to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and act to enhance the health and well-being of all people throughout New Zealand", the organisation said.