There has been stark criticism after ‘thoughtless’ vandals stole a piece of life-saving equipment from a local football club.
A defibrillator belonging to Carrick Rangers was taken from the club grounds at Taylor’s Avenue over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The device was later found abandoned in the river at the rear of Carrickfergus Amphitheatre leisure centre.
It is thought that the perpetrators trespassed on the grounds for a “party”, according to Carrick Rangers secretary, David Hilditch. “The area around the club has always been very susceptible to anti-social behaviour,” he said. “We have run various initiatives over the years, including Twilight Soccer, to try and engage young people through sport, but unfortunately there seems to be those who are hell bent on causing damage.
“[The defibrillator] was installed at the club in partnership with the group that supplies them; at the end of the day it’s not an ornament, it’s there to save someone’s life and whoever did this never knows when that might come to their door.
“It was completely thoughtless and people are just angry and saddened at the same time.”
At the time of going to press, it remained uncertain as to whether the electronic device could be repaired due to its exposure to water.
Indicating that the equipment may have to be replaced, Mr Hilditch added: “At the minute there are tentative plans to install CCTV to prevent something like this happening again, but we are also appealing to the police to see what action they can take.”
Commenting on the incident, a PSNI spokesperson said: “It was reported that the defibrillator was removed sometime on Sunday night, May 6 and thrown into a nearby river.
"This type of equipment is used to benefit the wider public and fitted on an outside wall so that it can be used in an emergency. It is a vital piece of equipment that could mean the difference between life and death for someone.
“Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that can assist the investigation to contact officers in Larne Police Station on 101 quoting reference 1199 07/05/18. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100 percent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."