VANDALS who caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to an ambulance station in Darwen have been slammed.

Yobs kicked the door to an outbuilding at the premises in George Street causing more than £400 worth of damage sometime between 8pm on Saturday and 8am on Monday.

Ian Barton, East Lancashire operations manager for the North West Ambulance Service, said: “For the last three years we have had increasing problems with large groups of youths congregating near to the station.

“They have stolen and damaged vital equipment from staff vehicles and ambulances.

"Their actions are affecting patient care because of the equipment we keep having to replace, and the incidents have left our staff feeling uneasy and unsafe.

“This malicious and deliberate vandalism will not be tolerated and this kind of unwarranted behaviour must stop immediately.

“We are doing so much to help those in need and it is unbelievable what people will do to the emergency services without giving a second thought about how this will affect their local community.”

In August 2008, a crackdown was launched by NWAS and Darwen police after the station became a regular target for vandals and thieves.

Officers agreed to increase patrols in a bid to catch the culprits and anti-vandal paint and notices were put up around the station in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Roy Davies said he was ‘disgusted’ by the latest damage.

He said: “This is outrageous behaviour and I cannot understand why anybody would damage the buildings of a vital emergency service.

“It worries me that this is happening and I think it may be people who are drinking too much and then causing damage.

"I hope that the police will be pro-active and try to stop this mindless behaviour.”

PC Heather Kerr said: “The ambulance service provides a vital public service and this mindless act of vandalism is not acceptable.

"I urge anyone who saw what happened or knows who is responsible to call.”

Anyone with information should tell the police on 0845125 3545.