A BURGLAR who broke into an ambulance station and disrupted emergency services has been jailed for 16 months.

Michael Rollinson smashed the window of Bolton North Ambulance Station in Shoreswood, Sharples, and stole three sets of ambulance keys before making off in a Toyota Yaris which belonged to a paramedic.

The paramedic could not work his shift, leaving the station short of cover, while an ambulance had to be taken off the road.

Rollinson was caught when the owner of the car spotted his vehicle in Belmont Road at 5.40pm the following day and called the police.

Michael Rollinson, along with his brother Nicholas Rollinson, was arrested on April 23.

Bolton Crown Court heard that Michael Rollinson had taken heroin and alcohol on the night he committed the offence.

The ambulance keys were never found and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) spent hundreds of pounds changing the locks on the three vehicles.

Michael Rollinson, aged 33, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to burglary and taking a vehicle without consent.

Nicholas Rollinson, aged 40, of Belmont Road, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. He was sentenced last Wednesday to a community order with supervision for 12 months and to go on the thinking skills programme.

Judge William Morrison told Michael Rollinson: “You took three keys to ambulances and say that you threw them away, but they were not found and it caused great disruption to the ambulance service.

“Fortunately the emergency vehicle could still be used because there was a spare key, but that could so easily have been disabled and had serious consequences.”

Ged Blezard, NWAS’s head of service for Greater Manchester, said: “People may not realise that acts such as this can put patients’ lives at risk.

“As a result of the actions, we had a new vehicle for Bolton, worth more than £100,000, which had to be taken off the road.

“The thieves also stole a paramedic’s car and house keys — resulting in the member of staff being sent home for the shift, effectively meaning the station did not have a full complement of staff that night.

“We hope this sentence gives a clear message that disrupting a service which exists to save lives will not be tolerated and ourselves and the police will strive to bring any perpetrators to justice should they commit such acts.”