999 crew smash their way into wrong flat to give woman rude midnight awakening

Gabriella Croft in front of her doorwayGabriella Croft in front of her doorway
Gabriella Croft in front of her doorway
A carer thought she was being burgled when a 999 ambulance crew broke into her flat by smashing her door shortly before midnight.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) were called to Sudeley House in Wharf Street, Sutton Bridge, to help an elderly lady who couldn’t move.

They got the right house, which has been converted into flats, but smashed in the door to the wrong flat.

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Carer Gabriella Croft (22) heard banging on her French doors and went to answer her main door.

She said: “I was just sleeping, like you usually do in the middle of the night.

“I got up a bit disorientated and, as I went to open the door, bits of wood came flying at me.

“They got in and then they asked me if I was all right. I replied ‘no, not really, who are you and why are you in my house?’

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“They explained they were the paramedics and someone had dialled 999. I thought I was being burgled or attacked or something.”

Gabriella said the paramedics checked with their control and found the right flat, number 1.

It was neighbour Eileen Hussey (87) who needed help that night and she had contacted her Lifeline service, who summoned the ambulance.

Eileen told us: “On that particular night, my back spasmed and I couldn’t move.”

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Fellow Sudeley House resident Shirley Giles said the address of the house is 7 Wharf Street and Gabriella lives at flat 7.

She believes the property should have an official address of Sudeley House, Wharf Street – with the 7 deleted – to avoid any further mix-ups.

Shirley said: “Sometimes everyone’s mail goes into the letterbox at flat 7.”

Once the paramedics had been to see their patient, who didn’t go to hospital, they returned to see Gabriella.

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She said: “They came back and they apologised. They couldn’t apologise enough, really, and they were ever so nice.”

Gabriella is now seeing the funny side of her rude awakening that night.

She said: “I think you have to laugh in these situations. At the end of the day, no harm came to me or anyone else – and it’s good to know that if the paramedics have to reach you they can get into your house.”

Her landlord repaired the door the following day.

Pete Ripley, the EMAS associate director of operations, said: “When our frontline crews attend a property that they can’t gain access to they use reasonable force to gain entry if they believe a patient is at harm.

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“We acknowledge that the resident understands why the action was taken and apologise for the distress and inconvenience caused.

“We have been contacted by the landlord and are liaising with him to resolve this.”