A DEFIBRILLATOR has been stolen for the second time - putting lives at risk.

The equipment was taken from outside D Glick Optical in High Street, Wickford, during the night of Wednesday, December 27.

Hugh Hunter, 69, a former community first responder of Irvon Hill Road discovered the lock for the defibrillator had been opened and the equipment had been stolen when he arrived in the High Street in the morning.

He said: “It is a bit of a mystery how it got stolen as because it was locked up in the High Street.

“They did it before when it was first installed 18 months ago.

“They took the first one when someone got into the box and now this one has been stolen.

“We don’t know who it was who stole it.

“I don’t think it was children, most likely adults as they would probably know there is a market for them.”

The defibrillator is the second that has been crowdfunded by Wickford residents to help treat people quickly when they suffer heart attacks or other life-threatening conditions in the high street.

Mr Hunter said: “It is a state-of-the-art machine.

“It is really bad because you are talking about people’s lives being in danger.

“When you dial 999 they give you the code and then it will be opened to get the defibrillator out straight away and potentially save a patient’s life.

“But, right now, we may have to wait 15 or 20 minutes for paramedics to arrive. They will also send someone but if a person’s life has been saved before that, it is good.”

Mr Hunter expressed his anger that someone would think to steal the equipment and risk people’s lives.

He said: “It just beggars belief why someone would take this thing.

“It is just senseless that they would put people at risk like that.”

Mr Hunter requested that members of the public are offered the equipment or they see it to report it to the police immediately.

There is another defibrillator in Wickford based at the library in Market Road, however Mr Hunter said it is too far for someone to travel when a person is in a life-threatening condition.

He said: “If someone has a heart attack in the High Street, someone would have to trek far away in order to get another defibrillator, that could be a big risk.”

The East of England Ambulance offers advice on how to access public defibrillators in emergencies.

To find out more go to: www.eastamb.nhs.uk