Community shock as defibrillator is stolen

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POLICE have warned the public of the potential dangers of using medical equipment without training after a defibrillator was stolen.

The defibrillator was taken from a car in the Avenue Road area of Lurgan and police have urged the public to be vigilant.

Constable Michael Allen, of Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The defibrillator was taken when a bag was stolen from a car in Avenue Road.

“The bag was discarded but the defibrillator was not recovered.

“This equipment is potentially dangerous for anyone who uses it without proper training.

“I would appeal to anyone with information about the whereabouts of the defibrillator to contact us.”

Constable Allen continued: “I would also ask anyone who is offered equipment of this nature for sale in suspicious circumstances to contact us.”

Local woman Anne Lavery who raises money to buy defibrillators said she has no idea why anyone would want to steal one.

She said Lurgan is a high risk area for heart disease and this an essential piece of life-saving equipment.

“If someone has went to the bother of raising money for this equipment and then someone steals it, you would have to ask the question, how would you feel if it was a member of your family who needed it next,” she told the Mail.

“How would they feel if a call was made for their mum or dad and the defibrillator wasn’t available,” she said, adding that defibrillators can cost thousands to replace.

Anne raises money for community defibrillators and recently gave one to the YMCA.

“It is not something that should be used unless the person needs it. It is not something people should be playing with. It is definitely something that should be returned to the ambulance service,” added Anne who started raising funds for defibrillators after the death of her father from a heart attack.

Anne also organises the ‘Halloween House’ at her home which raises funds for heart related charities each year. She raised cash for defibrillators for use in St Anthony’s Primary School and Tannaghmore School among other venues.

She is currently raising funds for an ‘events’ defibrillator which can be hired out by various groups such as dance or athletic groups.

“A lot of these groups wouldn’t have access to one so they could give me a call and borrow it for events they are running,” she explained.

Police in Lurgan can be contacted on 0845 600 8000.