THE WORKINGTON community was left in shock after two defibrillators, one of which was used to save someone’s life earlier this year, were vandalised in the town.

Karen Thompson, manager at the Carnegie Theatre, said she was appalled to discover the box containing the defibrillator, which is placed at the side of the Finkle Street building, had been broken into.

And Richard Ashcroft, manager of the Washington Square shopping centre, said he was angry when the defibrillator on Campbell Savours Way had also been damaged.

High-visibility jackets were stolen from both units.

Both facilities will now have to be placed indoors to avoid vandalism, meaning they will not be accessible 24/7.

Mr Ashcroft said: “Costa Coffee have kindly offered to host one, but if something was to happen to someone while the cafe is closed, no one would be able to access it.

“It makes me angry, the whole idea of these defibrillators is that they should always be accessible.What if one of the relatives of who did this, needed it, I bet they would be annoyed.”

Karen said staff and volunteers at the Carnegie were sad about what had happened.

She said: “People raised a lot of money to get that defibrillator and the ambulance service came out to train our staff and some of the volunteers. It saved someone’s life earlier this year, what happened is appalling.”

Now the defibrillator will be kept inside the venue and will only be accessible when the Carnegie is open.

Karen said: “When it comes to a cardiac arrest it’s all about timing. We’re so upset about it and we want to make sure it is available whenever we can make it available during opening times.”

Earlier this year the defibrillator outside the Cumberland Hotel on Station Street was also vandalised.

Lauren Watson, North West Ambulance Service’s Chain of Survival Coordinator for Cumbria said: “We are absolutely appalled that two life-saving defibrillators have been mindlessly vandalised in Workington, the third attack of its kind in recent months.

“Local community first responders (CFRs) fundraised for the installation of the devices with one of the machines being used to save a life just six months ago, one week after installation.

“The defibrillator on Campbell Savours Way is now out of action for the time being with the Carnegie Theatre machine being taken inside, only accessible during theatre opening hours until the cabinet can be fixed.

“In the event of a cardiac arrest, every single second counts which is why it’s so important to have this life-saving equipment available to be used by the community whilst they wait for an ambulance to arrive.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of respecting this equipment. It could absolutely mean the difference between life and death. Charity, Community Heartbeat Trust are assisting with the repairs and the local CFRs will continue to fundraise to cover the costs. The police have been informed.”