Nurse Siji Thomas has told how her car was targeted by thieves at Stoke-on-Trent’s main hospital – while she treated coronavirus patients.
The 42-year-old was horrified when she returned to her vehicle after a gruelling 12-hour shift at the Royal Stoke University Hospital to find her car’s catalytic converter had been stolen.
She has now been forced to scrap her Honda Jazz because her family cannot afford to pay the £700 repair bill.
The incident took place on Thursday, March 26 – five days after the hospital stepped up security following a spate of identical thefts.
The car was parked up between 7am and 7.45pm.
Siji said: “I was at work doing a long shift from 7am to 7.30pm. I parked my car as usual on the staff car park and went to work.
“When I started my car it was making a strange loud noise like something was breaking in the car and I didn’t know what was wrong. I decided to drive it home, but it was really dreadful and I’m shocked I managed to get it home like that.
“I told my husband and he said he would look at it the next morning. When he started the car it was making the same noise so we called the RAC. They said the catalytic converter had been cut off.
“We took the car to a garage and were given a quote of £700 to repair it – but we don’t have that amount of money.
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“We’ve decided to scrap the car because we don’t have £700. My husband is also a staff nurse on another ward and he is going to have drop me off and pick me up from work.
“I feel helpless because of it. I’m quite an independent woman and now I don’t even have my own car. If my husband is at work I won’t even be able to nip to the shop to get milk.
“I’m really stuck, I’m completely reliant on him.”
Siji says the theft is ‘disgusting’.
She added: “I was treating patients with COVID-19, working a 12-hour shift, I was really tired and just wanted to get home and have a shower – and then this happens.
“I was really shocked and really upset. To steal from a car at the hospital is shocking in a normal situation – never mind during a pandemic.
“We are putting ourselves and our families at a really high risk by looking after people and then you come out of work and this happens. I don’t know how somebody could do that.
“Everybody at work is scared because of what is going on with coronavirus, but we’re a team and we’re trying to do the best we can.
“Everyone is talking about it in the hospital and they only seem to be targeting Honda Jazz cars.”
Husband Binoy Joseph says he was ‘shocked’ that someone had targeted their car.
The 46-year-old said: “We are helping people and it’s a horrible thing for someone to do to us. Siji was really upset.”
Staffordshire Police have confirmed they are investigating the latest Royal Stoke catalytic converter theft. Anyone with any information should call the police on 101.
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