Vandals smash life-saving community defibrillator

William Smith

Reporter:

William Smith

Email:

william.smith@tyronecon.co.uk

POLICE are investigating suspected criminal damage to a defibrillator outside a local community centre in Omagh.

The incident, which saw a defibrillator smashed at the CKS Community Centre at O'Kane Park, Omagh, is thought to have occurred on December 24.

A police investigation has subsequently been launched, with members of the community urged to get in touch with the PSNI on 101 with any information.

Speaking on the incident, a PSNI spokesperson said: "It has been reported to us as suspected criminal damage and an investigation is underway to try and establish what has happened.

"If you have a legitimate reason for using emergency equipment then please remember to notify someone ASAP so that it can be checked over and items replaced if necessary. If you went to grab a defibrillator in an emergency you wouldn’t want to find this - no matter what the explanation might be.

"If you can help us with our enquiries then please get in touch with Omagh Police quoting reference CC932 of December 24. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

West Tyrone MLA., Tom Buchanan, described the incident as an 'unthinkable' attack on a 'life-saving device'.

"This is damage to life-saving property must be unreservedly condemned," he said. "This equipment has been put there in a community setting to help people that may be unfortunate to need it, and to help keep them alive until such times as an ambulance can arrive.

"As we have seen time and time again, these devices are of immense benefit to the communities that have had them installed, and therefore it is sad to see that we have people in society who are intent on causing damage to something that's there to preserve life.

"It is clear that these people really need to examine their own priorities and ask themselves why they want to destroy something that is put there by the community in order to save lives. It could well be that a friend or relative of these people could end up needing a defibrillator in the future. These people need to take a step back and take stock of exactly what they are doing, and think about the damage they are causing.

"I am condemning this outright, and the perpetrators need to be brought to book for what they have done. I am urging anyone who has seen anything, no matter how small, to share it with police. Undoubtedly, people in area are outraged about what has happened. This kind of activity must be brought to an end."

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