THE WATERFORD branch of The Order of Malta was broken into last Tuesday, March 26, resulting in a significant amount of damage to the building and their equipment. According to Waterford Gardaí, the alarm on the premises, which is located on Bath Street, was activated at approximately 00:45 and on first inspection, there was nothing major stolen but the damage was considerable.
According to The Order of Malta, one of their ambulances, a 2010 VW Transporter, had a reversing camera forcibly removed from the back, damaging wiring and bodywork. A second ambulance received a broken window and its fire extinguisher removed, which was later used to smash a window at the front of the building. The intruder spent over 40 minutes in the third ambulance, ripping a camera monitor screen from its bracket, breaking a radio console bracket and causing thousands of euro worth of damage during a prolonged ransacking.
The intruder cut himself in one of the ambulances and also urinated on equipment meaning that all of the equipment in the ambulances will now have to be disposed of as clinical waste as they are no longer safe to be used by Order of Malta members. Spokesperson for the organisation, Clive O’Regan, told the Waterford News & Star that the attack on their premises has severely “angered and frustrated its members.”
“The Order of Malta is heading into its 80th year and as a voluntary first-aid and ambulance provider, we solely rely on donations for our events and maintenance,” Clive said. “We actually had plans for an 80th Anniversary celebration but these will have to be delayed now because we’re going to have to cover the cost of damage that’s not covered by insurance.”
Clive says that the break in last week was not an isolated incident.
“There has been an increase in anti-social behaviour around the premises, which forced us to install a CCTV system,” he said. “It came off the back of drug paraphernalia, rubbish and all sorts of waste being found on site. This latest attack means that we’re going to have to install a full security fence around the perimeter in order to protect our ambulances, whose sole purpose is to protect the people of Waterford. As a charity we could do without the headache of these events, which have required considerable volunteer hours to get the premises sorted and some of the damages cleaned up.”
Waterford Gardaí have confirmed that a male has been arrested, and they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the crime.
“As officer in charge of the Waterford unit I would like to thank the Gardai for their quick response to the alarm call and also for their speedy arrest of the person suspected of being involved in this incident,” Clive said.