HeadLine: HITMAN SECURITY ALERT AT GUN TERROR HOSPITAL
The Mirror, 26/03/2002, p5
by SHAUN MILNE & GRAHAM TIBBETTS
A HOSPITAL where a patient was being treated after a gangland shooting
was put on full security alert after a man was spotted carrying a gun.
Terrified staff watched on CCTV as the man pulled a handgun from a
plant pot where it had been stashed earlier.
Police raced to the scene but, despite an extensive search of both the
hospital building and grounds, the man escaped.
Cops said they can’t be sure of whether the gun was a firearm or simply
some kind of air gun.
But the Mirror can reveal that a patient being treated in the hospital
had survived an assassination attempt just weeks earlier.
The man – who we are not naming – was gunned down in broad daylight.
It was unclear whether or not the incidents were connected, but one
underworld source told us yesterday: “It’s a fair bet.
“You don’t get that many people wandering about Scots hospitals
“Whether this is someone the guy knows or someone sending a message,
we’ll never know.”
Strathclyde Police raced to the Spinal Injuries Unit at the Southern
General Hospital in Glasgow, on February 13.
The unit, the only one of its kind in Scotland, is also a regular
target for thieves and intruders.
And it is claimed that wards have been plunged into turmoil with six
staff quitting this year.
A hospital source said: “Staff were terrified because someone was
thought to have smuggled a gun into a ward.
“There have been a number of break-ins at the unit and everyone is
worried about their safety.
“All of the workers have been affected and with morale at an all-time
low it’s no wonder staff are leaving in their droves.
“A senior consultant’s office was wrecked and that was a horrible
experience for everyone. The staff have a good team spirit but are
really worried about the threat posed from the outside.
“Personal belongings have been stolen and the staff are always on their
guard. The police are called nearly every week.”
Strathclyde Police confirmed last night that officers had been called
to the unit.
A spokesman said: “Police were called to the Spinal Injuries Unit after
reports that a weapon, similar to a gun, had been brought in.
“People in the area were stopped and searched but no trace of the
weapon was found.”
A spokesman for South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust denied
that staff were leaving because of the fear factor.
She said: “The vacancy level is what we would expect due to normal
turnover of staff.”
But Tory MSP for Glasgow and deputy justice spokesman Bill Aitken said:
“I am writing to the Trust to ask if there is a security problem. If
there is, I will seek a meeting with Strathclyde Police to see that the
hospital has all possible support.”
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