VANDALS have attacked cars belonging to ambulance staff responding to emergency calls.

"Shocking and unacceptable" were the words used by a spokesman for the South Western Ambulance Service to describe the attacks on vehicles parked at the service's station in Shaftesbury.

Cars belonging to local people were also damaged in the rampage, which happened on Friday night, but was not discovered by ambulance staff until the following morning.

Paramedics who had worked through the night were alerted to the damage by colleagues signing on for the day shift.

Andrew Packham, a clinical support officer, said colleagues at the station in the Bimport area of the town felt let down by those responsible.

"They are quite upset and disappointed that this has happened. It's not a good thing to happen to anybody, but crews here are serving the local community," said Mr Packham The town's mayor, Cllr Winifred Harvey, said: "It's absolutely dreadful. Whoever has done this has gone round there deliberately. Staff at the ambulance station park their cars out of sight."

A silver Ford Focus, a blue Volkswagen Passat, a grey Ford Transit van, and silver Ford Focus were all damaged in the attack.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said the force had launched an investigation and was keen to hear from anyone who might have seen, or heard, the attacks.

"There is normally some noise with these attacks. We are making enquires and appeal for anyone in the area who has seen or heard anything to come forward," the spokesman said.

Call police on 01202 222222.