AMBULANCES bosses have relaunched a campaign highlighting the abuse paramedics receive and the potential consequences for perpetrators.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) are running an initiative called Don't Choose to Abuse.

During the last financial year, more than 1,000 incidents were reported across the region by ambulance staff including 252 physical altercations and eight instances where weapons were used.

A poster campaign will be going out this months to pubs, licensed premises and other public places, reminding people that assaulting ambulance crew members can result in a prison sentence of up to 12 months.

In November, thug James Parkes was jailed for 23 weeks at Colchester Magistrates' Court after he hurled abuse at two paramedics while they were treating a patient.

The pair felt so threatened they called the police, and the 51-year-old then proceeded to headbutt the officer.

In 2017, a paramedic working in Brooklands, Jaywick, had a knife held to their throat by a robber who demanded they hand over drugs stored in their ambulance.

When they refused, the robber ran off.

EEAST chief executive Dorothy Hosein said she believed anyone who was abusive to her staff deserved a serious punishment.

“No-one should have to face abuse as part of their job, but when ambulance crews and call-handlers, who are there to help, are abused it’s totally unacceptable," she said.

“Some members of our staff have reported they receive some form of abuse almost daily.

"This can have a cumulative effect on people’s wellbeing, and part of our campaign is telling staff that if they receive abuse from members of the public, they will be supported.

“We welcome the strengthening of the law, and will support our staff in reporting abuse and pressing for the strongest penalties.

“So, while we appreciate that we often deal with people under difficult circumstances, we would like to remind everyone they have a choice.

“Don’t choose to abuse – the consequences can be serious.”