VANDALS have damaged a life-saving defibrillator in Annan, leaving it unaccessible for the next few weeks.
A member of staff at the Station House bar and restaurant, where the automated external defibrillator (AED) is fitted by the front entrance, said it was discovered last Friday night with the protective glass panel smashed but the equipment still in place.
They added that until the screen is replaced the defibrillator will have to be kept inside the pub, which closes its doors on December 24 until further notice in line with new coronavirus restrictions.
If effectively used alongside CPR the defibrillator has the potential to boost the chances of survival for someone suffering from a cardiac arrest by 68 per cent.
Local resident John Steel, who led the campaign for the devices being installed throughout the town in 2016, is furious at the damage.
He said that it could be mid-January before the box is fully repaired and restored for public use.
And he added: “It’s out of commission now and that means there’s one less in the town. It’s a mindless act that could cost somebody’s life in the end.
“I do not believe that this has been done by a regular of the station as I know how much Ian Murray, his staff and regulars have looked after and protected the defibrillator. It may have been a drunken prank, but it was a stupid and reckless thing to do.”
Appealing directly to the perpetrators, he added: “Do the decent thing and contact Annan police.”
Annandale South Councillor Ian Carruthers was also disappointed to hear of the incident and said: “If it was vandalism that’s caused this, that type of behaviour cannot be condoned in any way. At a time when the country is in such crisis, we should be doing everything we can to make sure that defibrillators and any other instruments like that should be in the best possible state that they can be, because you never know when they’re needed.”
Meanwhile, reacting online, one resident commented: “What kind of mindless moron would carry out an act like this?”
Another called the act “unforgivable,” adding: “I hope the person /persons responsible never need the use of this vital piece of equipment.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said that officers have been made aware of the incident and enquiries are ongoing.