An air ambulance crew has been "shocked and saddened" after yobs stole a vital part of their kit after a 999 emergency call.

A group of youths on bikes reportedly stole a £2,200 flight helmet from a critical care paramedic on Friday, October 6, while air ambulance crews prepared to help a patient in Whitefield.

The helmet was stolen from beside the helicopter at around at 3.30pm.

Without a helmet, which is used for communication and safety in the air, paramedics cannot respond to emergency incidents in helicopters.

Bury Times: Flight helmet stolen in Whitefield

David Briggs, operations director at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “It is really disappointing to have essential safety equipment stolen from our crews, while they are at scene attending to critically injured people.

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“The charity costs £12m a year to provide lifesaving treatment to the people of the North West.

“Our crews and equipment are paid for directly by our hardworking, kind and generous supporters.

Bury Times: Flight helmet stolen in Whitefield

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“I'd ask those responsible to consider the impact they made, as their actions prevented us from responding to those who could be their family, friends or neighbours.

“Our crews are shocked and saddened by this mindless act.”

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Bury Times: Flight helmet stolen in Whitefield

The helicopter, Helimed 72, had to return to base to collect and deliver a spare helmet before it could continue accepting call-outs to critically ill and injured patients.

The helmets are made to measure for each crew member, as they come with special fittings that are tailored to the shape of the person’s head.

The North West Air Ambulance Charity is not part of the NHS and does not receive any government funding.

If you have any information about the theft contact police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.