The emergency services and a council boss have hit out at the mindless yobs who destroyed a life-saving defibrillator installed in the memory of runner who died on the seafront, during a rampage on Bexhill seafront last weekend.
Unconfirmed reports say that somewhere in the region of 60 youngsters were hanging around the Tea Beside The Sea cafe at the Colonnade at around 9pm on Saturday (February 15).
Vandals scrawled graffiti on walls before ripping the defibrillator from its cabinet, destroying it and throwing it into the sea. The defibrillator – damaged beyond repair – was found a couple of days later washed up along the coast.
Bexhill police officer, Sergeant Mark Evans, is appealing to the perpetrators to own up to their actions, he said: “The theft and subsequent mindless criminal damage of life-saving equipment is an absolute disgrace!
“Not only is there a cost implication to replace the defibrillator, but more importantly it is now not available should a member of public need it to save a life.
“I would ask anybody with information regarding who is responsible to consult their conscience and do the right thing by contacting us.”
South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) Clinical Operations Manager Tim Fellows said this was a thoughtless act which put lives at risk, adding: “We hope that those responsible realise the seriousness of their actions and urge anyone with any information at all to come forward and contact us or the police.”
Rother District Council Executive Director Malcolm Johnston said: “This was mindless vandalism which has cost residents £2,000 in graffiti clean-up costs and, more worryingly, put the lives of residents and visitors to Bexhill at risk.”
The defibrillator, used to treat cardiac arrest patients by delivering an electric shock, was purchased by the Alex Hall Memorial Fund, which was set up by Alex’s wife Lorraine following his death. Alex, a Bexhill Coastal Officer and keen runner suffered a cardiac arrest on the seafront two years ago.
Family, friends, local businesses and residents raised money for a Public Access Defibrillators (PAD) in the hope that other lives may be saved.
So far they have purchased two PADs - the first was installed by the Rother District Council Coast Office on the Colonnade last year. A replacement defibrillator, provided by SECAmb, is due to be installed at The Colonnade next week.
Anyone with any information on Saturday’s events call Sussex Police on 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting serial 753 of 16/2.