UPDATE: ‘Despicable’ heart machine theft

A video obtained exclusively by the Bridlington Free Press shows the dramatic moment a man stole a life-saving defibrillator heart machine.

Since going to print Humberside Police have issued the following update: “Last night (Wednesday 14 January 2015) a 38-year-old man was voluntarily interviewed by the police in connection with the theft of a defibrillator machine in Flamborough on Saturday 10 January 2015.

“The defibrillator machine has been returned since the theft and is being assessed for any damage.

“At this time police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.”

The footage shows the man breaking open a security box on the wall of the Victoria Club and Institute on Chapel Street in Flamborough, before making off with the vital device worth around £1,500.

The man can be seen being dropped off by a black van and then taking the defibrillator before getting back into the van, driven off by another person.

Three days later, on Tuesday, the defibrillator was handed in to the club by a member of the public who allegedly said: “We have finished with it now.”

Now questions are being asked as to why the man took the life-saving unit in the first place.

The president of the Victoria Club and Institute Paul Lawson, described Saturday’s theft as “despicable”.

He said: “What can I say? I think it was returned because they must be worried that we are on to them.

“It is just despicable, how low can somebody stoop?

“If the defibrillator is not there and someone who comes along and really needs it, it could have resulted in a death. The police have now taken it away.”

Defibrillators are used to deliver a shock to restart a patient’s heart when they are in cardiac arrest, and can mean the difference between life and death for residents in rural towns like Flamborough.

A spokesperson for Humberside Police said: “We are investigating following the theft of a defibrillator machine from The Flamborough Victoria Club And Institute on Chapel Street, Flamborough at 4.30pm on Saturday 10 January 2015.

“Anyone with information should call Humberside Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 2091103.”

The equipment was originally supplied to Flamborough in 2014 as part of an initiative by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

David Morton, a Flamborough Parish Councillor, said: “I really am at a loss for words.

“The fact it was returned does not take away from how despicable the theft was in the first place.

“If there is an incident in Flamborough, this equipment needs to be accessible.

“You don’t need to be trained to use them - if somebody suspects someone may have had a heart attack, the 999 operator will instruct them on where to find the machine and how to use it.

“How can anyone be so despicable as to steal an item that is there for the sole purpose of saving lives?
“It’s of no use to anyone for anything at all but saving lives.

“I am really thankful to the Victoria Club and Institute for agreeing to provide the defibrillator with a supply of electricity so frost doesn’t damage it.”

Paul Stevens, the locality manager at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service spoke of how important community accessible defibrillators are to rural towns and villages.

He said: “In 2014 the Yorkshire Ambulance Service provided 100 defibrillators to towns and villages in Yorkshire.

“This was a key initiative to raise awareness of defibrillators - we are trying to improve heart attack victim’s chances of survival.

“We place these in outlying areas where getting an ambulance there can be challenging and Flamborough is one of these areas - they can make the difference between life and death.

“If anyone was offered a defibrillator for purchase we would encourage you to contact the police or the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

“I want to assure the public that we will do everything in our power to replace it as soon as possible.”

The first theft of a defibrillator in Yorkshire comes after eight defibrillators were stolen in Bristol recently.