Jailed for attempting to steal ambulance

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A 51-year-old man tried to steal an ambulance at Altnagelvin Hospital just days after he was released from prison, a court has heard.

Kenneth Hazlett, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to attempted theft of a vehicle, assaulting a member of staff at Altnagelvin Hospital and disorderly behaviour.

He also admitted assaulting and resisting police. All the offences were committed on January 11.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the ambulance was parked in an emergency bay. The key was removed, but the engine was still able to run.

Hazlett jumped into the vehicle and tried to drive away, but the engine cut out.

A member of staff observed this and attempted to get Hazlett out of the vehicle.

The defendant swung three punches at the member of staff, but missed each time before the man moved back and he was struck on the back of his head.

Police located Hazlett in the hospital grounds and struggled with them during his arrest.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said his client had no recollection of the incident due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed. However, he told the court the 51-year-old accepted it was him on CCTV footage.

He said Hazlett had been released from prison a matter of days before this incident and had been living rough.

Mr Quigley added that Hazlett had been ‘extremely drunk’ and it was ‘terrifying’ to think what would have happened had be been able to drive the vehicle.

The solicitor said while all cases of hospital disorderly are serious, this was one of the more serious.

Jailing Hazlett for five months, District Judge Barney McElholm said it was ‘an absolutely outrageous incident trying to steal an ambulance then assaulting a member of hospital staff.’