Bendigo SES has started the year on a sour note following a break in at their Adam Street depot on New Year's Day.
A man was spotted by CCTV cameras gaining access to the depot and trying to steal a Mitsubishi Lancer used by SES members to hone their road rescue skills.
Bendigo SES deputy controller Natalie Stanway said the man was in the depot between 2am and 3am on January 1.
"He has gone to fair bit of effort, got a battery to put in the Lancer and rammed through a gate," she said.
"We have since gone through footage and found the guy was there the previous night as well."
Ms Stanway said the car was donated to Bendigo SES to use for road rescue training. She said crew members had noticed some damage to other donated vehicles.
"None of the unit vehicles were damaged," she said. "Thankfully he couldn't get access to the building and was confined to the training area.
"As far as we can see he has damaged fences, and the hinges have been ripped off fence and gates. We are still going through video footage."
Ms Stanway said the break-in was noticed by a crew member who drove past the depot on Friday morning.
"We sincerely hope it doesn't set the tone for our year," she said. "We're hoping to have better year.
"We have just done our stats for last year and the support to the community is higher than was in 2019. our job responses are higher."
Bendigo SES have reported the matter to Bendigo Police.
"We had two police members there this morning and the crime scene investigation van," Ms Stanway said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Bendigo Police on 5448 1300.