Stolen car returned to St. John’s Ambulance volunteer

John Ferguson, Area Duty Officer, St. John Ambulance, pictured with some of the medical equipment recovered after his car was stolen from outside the charity's premises at Springtown in the early hours of Thursday morning last. 1809JM09

John Ferguson, Area Duty Officer, St. John Ambulance, pictured with some of the medical equipment recovered after his car was stolen from outside the charity's premises at Springtown in the early hours of Thursday morning last. 1809JM09

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A St. John’s Ambulance volunteer, who had his vehicle stolen as he worked was yesterday celebrating the fact that it had been recovered.

John Ferguson, a St. John’s volunteer for 17 years, said he was “sickened” when thieves made off with his limited edition Vauxhaull Vectra 2.6 SRI. The car also contained his wallet and medical supplies worth £1,500, including diagnostic equipment, stethescopes, blood pressure devices, bandages and VHF radios. Though the medical supplies were returned, sadly John had his wallet and cash stolen. Mr. Ferguson had been preparing the good samaritans’ new centre in the Springtown Industrial Estate in the early hours of Thursday morning when suddenly he heard his car start. At one stage he ran in front of the vehicle in order to halt the thieves.

“The voluntary worker, who is also entering the second year of his medical studies in London, has been working late into the night for weeks in order to prepare the centre: “I thought it had gone, sold for parts, so I was delighted when the police said they had recovered it on Sunday evening. On behalf of myself and St. John’s I would like to thank whoever notified police of its whereabouts. The equipment was still in the car. It was clear it had been searched but thankfully it is all still in working order.”

The car was recovered close to the Whitehouse Retail Park. Two tyres were deflated but otherwise it seemed to be in full working order. The PSNI have retained it for forensic analysis. It is expected to be returned to the owner later in the week.

“The police described the car as a ‘joyriders dream’ so they might have been watching for an opportunity,” said Mr. Ferguson. “I have faced significant stress in trying to rearrange another vehicle in the meantime as I have to get my stuff to London this weekend for the new term starting.

“That said I am absolutely delighted that I have got the car back.”

SDLP Derry City Councillor John Boyle has condemned those responsible: “People were rightly outraged about this. St. John’s Ambulance is a community service which survives because of the goodwill and hard work of its volunteers.

“This St. John’s Ambulance volunteer had parked his silver Vauxhall Vectra to tend to his duties at the Ambulance Service Headquarters in Springtown Industrial Estate when he was targeted.

“It is particularly sickening that a dedicated volunteer who gives freely of his time to help others should fall victim to car theft while carrying out those duties. The thieves responsible for this have really shown they are the lowest of the low.

“I would urge anyone with any information to contact the police.”