State Emergency Service volunteers assisting in efforts to locate a missing man in Victoria have become victims of callous vandals.
In what has been described as a “low life act”, the rear window of their marked SES van was smashed while they were combing the streets for a missing man with dementia.
Ballarat SES members were searching door to door along Head St, Wendouree, about 3am Saturday when they heard the sound of smashing glass.
They ran back to the street and found the rear window of canopy on their unit truck had been shattered.
Fortunately there was little of value inside.
"We don't think anything was stolen. We think they heard the noise, realised we were there with police and panicked," said deputy operations controller Craig Elliott.
Police and SES crews were just three doors away from the vehicle but by the time they realised what had happened the vandal had fled.
Mr Elliott said it would cost the unit several hundred dollars to have the window repaired, as well as the inconvenience.
"It's such a low act. We'll probably be covered by insurance but I don't think by the time we pay excess it will be cheaper so we might just have to pay it," Mr Elliott said.
The damage could bring forward plans to convert the rear of the truck to locked toolboxes to avoid similar damage and potential theft.
"We had 17 members out searching for this gentleman until about 4am. Fortunately it was a good result and he was found."
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact Ballarat Police.