ANOTHER key health worker has had a bicycle stolen from outside The Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

In a particularly cruel twist, the theft was only discovered when the paramedic was coming off a 12-hour shift, which happened to coincide with the 8pm clap to support the NHS.

As residents across the conurbation applauded the selfless efforts of health professionals and hospital support staff, the female paramedic, who has asked not to be named, was left facing just a padlock where her £600 bicycle had been locked up hours earlier.

The stunned paramedic, who lives in Christchurch and works for a private ambulance company, told the Daily Echo: “I was just shocked, I didn’t expect it. Not from a hospital.

“I’d left it locked up with lots of other bikes, I still feel quite shocked today. It means now I’m going to have to drive to work, so I won’t be getting that fresh air. It won’t stop me working, but is is a shame. I would have liked to have cycled and now that has been taken away from me as an option. That was my fresh air and exercise.”

The theft took place sometime between 7.30am and 7.30pm on Thursday.

Police and hospital administration staff have been notified.

It also comes just days after similar thefts were reported at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

At least four bikes were reported missing by staff on Monday. The Echo understands at least seven bicycles may now have been stolen from the hospital.

Inspector Phil Swanton, of Dorset Police, said: “The victim of this theft is a paramedic who had just come off a 12-hour shift to find that their bike had been stolen, leaving them having to find an alternative way of getting home, as well as financially out of pocket.

“It’s despicable that health workers are being targeted in this way during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“These are people who are passionate about their work and are going out of their way to keep our NHS running smoothly at a time of unprecedented pressure and a crime of this nature goes against what we as a community should be doing to support our key workers.

“We are carrying out a thorough investigation into this incident, as well as bicycle thefts reported from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital on Monday, March 30, and are determined to find those responsible.”

Speaking after the initial thefts were reported, Paula Shobbrook, director of nursing at the hospital 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.

“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.”

The bike stolen was a red and black hybrid Cube Nature bike.

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