HEARTLESS thieves stole bikes from vital health workers as they battled to treat people with coronavirus in the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Police were alerted after staff discovered the bikes, some of which were locked, had been taken on Monday.

Now a senior hospital figure has spoken out against the thieves and a fund raising appeal has been set up to replace the bikes.

Paula Shobbrook, director of nursing and midwifery at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Hospitals Trust, said: “We were extremely disappointed that several members of staff, including a consultant and a nurse had their bikes stolen while working at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital on Monday.

“All of our staff are working extremely hard to protect the public at this unprecedented time and for them to discover their bikes were gone after finishing their shift is distressing and unacceptable.

“We are working closely with the police to resolve this and are currently reviewing the footage from the recently upgraded CCTV systems we have onsite.”

One woman took to social media saying she was “totally horrified” after her husband, a hospital consultant, discovered his bike had been taken.

And another started a fund raising appeal on Facebook to raise £1,000.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “We were called at 10.47pm on Monday March 30 to a report of the theft of a bicycle from outside the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

“It is described as a black Specialised Rockhopper Hardtail mountain bike and was secured to a bike rack with a lock.

“We were also called at 9.23pm to a report of a separate bicycle theft from the same place. It was reported that two further bikes had been taken.”

No arrests have yet been made and enquiries into this incident are ongoing.

Anyone with information is urged to call Dorset Police on 101.

The incident is the latest in a series of offences against health workers reported across the country in recent days.

Victims include a care home worker in Canford Heath who was attacked by teenage boys who spat at her and told her “you’ve got corona”.

n THE Daily Echo has teamed up with both the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Poole Hospital to channel support to their dedicated staff, using the hashtag #ThankYouNHS.


n For Bournemouth, visit bhcharity.org/donate, or you can send a cheque for Bournemouth Hospital Charity to Bournemouth Hospital Charity, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Castle Lane East, Bournemouth, BH7 7DW

n For Poole, visit justgiving.com/campaign/ pooleheroes, or you can text POOLEHEROES 3 to 70085 to donate £3 (texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message)