"Callous thieves" have allegedly stolen catalytic converters from the cars of NHS staff whilst they were working.

There have been multiple reports to Hampshire Constabulary of the theft of the valuable car exhaust part from vehicles belonging to NHS staff at Basingstoke hospital's car park.

The police say that two vehicles were targeted at the Aldermaston Road site on Thursday, March 19, whilst the owners were at work.

Catalytic converters are valuable and often targeted because they contain precious metals such as platinum and palladium.

The NHS is under increasing strain recently because of the coronavirus outbreak, with Hampshire having the highest number of cases outside of London.

This has prompted the chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who run Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, to label the thieves as "callous".

Alex Whitfield said: "It is shocking that somebody would target hard-working NHS staff, particularly at a time like this, when they are needed more than ever.

“We are offering support to the victims of this crime and will assist the police in any way we can to catch these callous thieves.”

This sentiment was echoed by Ryan Slaughter, Regional Organiser for the South East for UNISON, a public services union.

He told the Gazette: "It is disgraceful that criminal elements are taking advantage of those working tirelessly around the clock to save our lives right now.

"I think we want general society and communities to come together during this difficult time. To be vigilant and look after each other. We have to come together to look after each other and those people who are working in all elements right now."

If you saw anything suspicious in the area at the time of the incident, contact Hampshire Police on 101, quoting 44200103759.

n Has this happened to you? Get in touch by emailing ryan.evans@basingstokegazette.co.uk or call 07701 313302.