Stolen Cambridgeshire fire engine kit found near Stevenage

Burwell fire station Image copyright Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue
Image caption The small station at Burwell supports crews in neighbouring towns

Equipment stolen from a fire station in a raid that left officers unable to tackle a house blaze was found 50 miles beside a railway line, it has emerged.

The cutting equipment was stolen from Burwell fire station, near Cambridge, in January.

A police investigation at the station after the theft meant fire fighters could not be sent out on a job.

The equipment has now been returned to the fire service after it was discovered in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Although the exact circumstances of its discovery are not clear, both Cambridgeshire police and fire services said the heavy-duty equipment - used to free people from vehicles following an accident - was found by British Transport Police.

At the time of the theft, chief fire officer Chris Strickland said "every second counts" when responding to an incident.

The Burwell engine was required for a house fire in Newmarket, Suffolk, but an engine had to be sent from another station instead.

'Life saving'

"How anyone can steal life-saving equipment from an emergency service is just beyond me," said Mr Strickland.

According to minutes of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, the Burwell station had experienced similar "issues" before the theft in January.

Image caption Burwell, in south east Cambridgeshire, is five miles (8km) from Newmarket in Suffolk

It is understood a review of security at the fire station, which is covered by CCTV, was requested.

Cambridgeshire Fire Service has yet to confirm what the findings of the review included.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said the matter had now been "filed pending further investigation".

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