LIFE-saving equipment, stolen from an ambulance answering an emergency call, has been returned to paramedics.

The Daily Echo ran a front page plea for the return of the Lucas device in a report on the theft from an ambulance crew answering an emergency call in Knighton Heath on December 13.

The machine, valued at £6,000, is used to deliver chest compressions and is a vital tool in the treatment of patients in cardiac arrest.

A member of the public found the device on a patch of grass in Todber Close, two weeks after it had been stolen from nearby Paddington Grove, and handed it to police.

Chris Peacock, operations manager at Bournemouth ambulance station, said staff were delighted by the return of the machine.

“It’s a relief, that’s the main thing. It means we can supply another ambulance with a life-saving piece of equipment.

“It was found by a gentleman who lives in the area near to where the ambulance was broken into. We’d just like to thank him for handing it on to the police,” he added.

A spokesman at Dorset Police praised the member of the public concerned for contacting officers with details of his chance discovery.

“The man who found this important piece of medical equipment acted perfectly correctly and is to be thanked for his public-spirited action,” he said.

Luckily for ambulance crews and their patients, the machine was undamaged, and after a thorough clean, has been returned to service.

The Lund University Cardiac Assist System (Lucas) is said to be five times more effective than a person delivering chest compressions using only their hands.

Paramedic Michelle Evans told the Daily Echo the device was particularly useful when giving chest compressions in the back of an ambulance, when the vehicle is moving at speed.