Ambulance drugs stolen again in second Ballarat break-in

POLICE are investigating another burglary at an Ambulance Victoria depot in Ballarat in which offenders forced entry into the Humffray Street building and stole prescription drugs from a locked safe. 

The burglary, which happened in the early hours of Wednesday, is the second in the last three months.

Thieves broke into the Sebastopol depot last December,  stealing prescription drugs including fentanyl and morphine. 

Earlier this year thieves struck Ambulance Victoria depots in Ballan, Castlemaine and Lara. 

One man, believed to be a former paramedic, was charged over some of those thefts, but the rest remain unsolved.

Fairfax Media revealed in 2012 that Ambulance Victoria employees were stealing fentanyl – a highly addictive pain killer about 100 times stronger than morphine – and replacing it with water. 

Ambulance Employees Australia general secretary Steve McGhie said he hadn’t been briefed by Ambulance Victoria, but said he knew of the latest burglary through union members. 

He said although the offenders forced their way into the building, he didn’t believe they broke into the safe. 

“And I believe that the safe was cleaned out of all its contents,” Mr McGhie said. 

“It certainly would have contained things like fentanyl and morphine, but I don’t know what volume.”

This latest burglary differs from the one in Sebastopol last December, with police at the time saying there was no sign of forced entry.

An Ambulance Victoria source told The Courier yesterday it was only a matter of time before the third depot – in Wendouree – was struck. 

“It’s not ideal and it’s just going to keep happening,” the source said. 

Ambulance Victoria Grampians Regional Manager Greg Leach said he couldn’t provide comment while the theft was under investigation. 

patrick.byrne@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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