The NHS trust in charge of St Albans City Hospital has appealed to people to return hundreds of pairs of crutches and walking sticks that have gone missing.

People who have been loaned walking aids are being urged to return them as soon as possible as part of an equipment amnesty across the trust's three sites in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

Missing equipment includes crutches which have been give out by the trust's children’s A&E team.

Hospital chiefs say items which are not returned cost thousands of pounds to replace - money that could be better spent on front-line services.

Michelle O’Grady is the matron for the children’s A&E department.

She said: "We know that returning crutches or other equipment is the last thing on anyone’s mind when they’re back on their feet again and getting better.

"However, we feel it’s worth reminding people to just have a look around and ask them to hand crutches and other hospital equipment back in if they’ve inadvertently hung on to it.

"The amnesty will give people the chance to clear out the crutches that have been cluttering their home for months and will help replenish our stocks.

"We won’t ask questions or criticise people for holding on to them.  We’ll just be happy to have them back.

"If you have any walking aids or other borrowed equipment supplied by Watford, Hemel Hempstead or St Albans hospitals please return them back to where they were supplied."