A biting attack on a paramedic in Ballycastle left the north Antrim town without ambulance cover overnight, the NI Ambulance Service has said.
The incident took place in the early hours of Thursday morning when the crew attended a report of a male, in his late teens, being unconscious.
A NIAS spokesman said the patient became aggressive and bit the paramedic - who was unable to continue their shift after being assessed at Causeway Hospital.
The assailant was arrested by police.
The NIAS spokesman called for the attacker to “face the full rigour of the law” and said: “This incident once again highlights the potential dangers faced by our crews” when attending calls.
“In condemning these incidents we try to explain the impacts, physical and emotional, of this type of trauma on our staff.
“We also try to explain the impact that such attacks have on the communities we serve. In this particular incident, the assault was perpetrated against a member of the only crew on duty in Ballycastle.
“When the member of staff was unable to continue with the rest of his shift, Ballycastle was left without cover in the town, relying on the neighbouring stations of Ballymoney and Coleraine to be available to respond to calls from the town.
“This also has the potential to impact on the staff from those other stations as they may have to travel longer distances at high speed to respond to Category A patients.”
The spokesman added: “These attacks are unnecessary and we must continue to educate the public of the dangers they pose, both to our staff and the communities they serve. We recognise that we have the support of the vast majority of the public in attempting to consign these attacks to history but if people refuse to listen, we would like to see custodial sentences as a deterrent.”