A paramedic had her purse and keys stolen as she tended to a sick patient.
Thieves broke into an ambulance while its crew were looking after a distressed woman on St Ann’s Walk in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, in the early hours of Thursday.
They made off with the 999 worker’s belongings, along with medical supplies including a life support kit and the crew returned to find the vehicle’s windows had been smashed.
Staffordshire Police said an oxygen canister, entonox canister and numerous personal items belonging to the crew were missing.
Chief Inspector John Owen said: “Ambulance staff are there to help those in need, and for their own personal belongings to be stolen whilst they potentially save a life is just not acceptable.
“Nothing that has been taken from inside of the ambulance is dangerous to the public, but anyone who is offered these substances, or sees discarded cylinders, is asked to contact us.”
The inspector also tweeted about the incident on Thursday morning, pleading for the public’s help in tracing the culprits.
Steve Rust, from the West Midlands Ambulance Service, also tweeted about the incident, saying “it just gets worse”.
The operations manager added: “One of Stoke Hub’s Ambulances was broken into whilst the crew were attending to a patient! Equipment stolen, crew personal belongings stolen including purse and car/house keys!”
Stoke-on-Trent city councillor Joy Garner said: “No words can describe how low these selfish potentially life threatening actions are.”
Police are urging anyone with information about the burglary to call Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 072 of 16 August, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.