PARAMEDICS have welcomed the jailing of a drunken man who urinated in an ambulance which was taking him to hospital.

Paul Ashworth, 30, of Guy Street, Burnley, was found by paramedics slumped at a takeaway in Hammerton Street, in the early hours of October 8 last year.

He was being driven to Royal Blackburn Hospital when he became abusive towards the female paramedic and male technician and tried to get out of the ambulance on the M65.

The crew called the police and pulled off the motorway at junction seven, with Ashworth repeatedly kicking a cupboard and then urinating in a corner of the vehicle.

He was arrested by officers who escorted him to hospital.

The ambulance, based at Altham Station, was immediately taken off the road for three hours to be cleaned whilst the ‘very upset’ crew gave statements to the police.

Later, the vehicle was taken off the road for a full day so the workshop could fit a new cupboard door.

At Blackburn Magis-trates’ Court, Ashworth was given a 14-day custodial sentence and order to pay £300 compensation to the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to cover the cost of the damage.

The ambulance service today expressed its ‘delight’ at the sentence, and the director of emergency service, Derek Cartwright, said: “There is an unacceptable level of abuse directed towards ambulance staff and emergency vehicles.

“When someone causes mindless damage to an emergency vehicle they are putting lives at risk because that ambulance has to be taken off the road for repairs.

“The trust welcomes Ashworth’s sentence and hopes it sends out a very clear message to anyone who behaves like this, that they face the possibility of prose-cution.”

John Moorhouse, who was the officer on call at Altham station on the night, said: “It’s a disgusting thing to do.

“His attitude seemed to change on the M65 and he was mouthing off at the crews and trying to get out of the back of the vehicle.

“They were very upset. They don’t like getting abuse and he was very aggressive."

Jonathan Fox, a serving paramedic and spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel said he had ‘unfortunately’ come across similar incidents while on duty.

He said: “Just because he’s had too much to drink; that’s no mitigation.

"It shows a total lack of respect and a contemptuous approach to the ambulance service.

“I welcome this sentence.”