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'I'm sick to my stomach' - Campaigner hits out after Ipswich defibrillator stolen

PUBLISHED: 11:30 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:57 20 July 2018

Chairman of Heartbeat East Suffolk, Mike Farthing, who is devastated after a defibrillator was stolen from Seven Asset in St Peter's Street Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chairman of Heartbeat East Suffolk, Mike Farthing, who is devastated after a defibrillator was stolen from Seven Asset in St Peter's Street Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Thieves branded "heartless" by devastated campaigners are suspected of stealing a life-saving defibrillator in Ipswich overnight.

The defibrillator was removed from its cabinet in St Peter's Street  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe defibrillator was removed from its cabinet in St Peter's Street Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mike Farthing, chairman of Heartbeat East Suffolk, said he is “sick to his stomach” after a newly-installed device outside Seven Asset in St Peter’s Street was removed from its cabinet at about 1.30am today.

He warned people’s lives are potentially being put at risk by taking the defibrillator away from the community, adding that it cost nearly £1,500 to install.

“I’m absolutely sick to my stomach,” the 76-year-old said.

“It’s a heartless thing to do, we’ve never had one stolen before, I’m devastated.

Mr Farthing urged people to keep an eye out for the life-saving device  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMr Farthing urged people to keep an eye out for the life-saving device Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We’ve raised almost £7,500 recently for defibrillators, one in Felixstowe and another one in Woodbridge.

“It’s worthless to anyone trying to sell it, but for the people it helps it’s a life-saving piece of kit.

He added: “By taking this away from the community it’s putting lives at risk, someone’s life is worth a lot more than the short-term gain the perpetrator thinks they will get from selling it.”

According to Mr Farthing, CCTV footage is being looked at as part of an ongoing police investigation into what happened.

Representatives for Suffolk police confirmed they are investigating the incident.

The suspected theft was reported at around 8.30am, they added.

“My message to the public would be to get in touch with police immediately if they see anything,” Mr Farthing said.

“It is in a bright green box and it wouldn’t be hard to spot someone carrying it.

“It looks as though someone has used screwdrivers or something to unscrew the defibrillator from its cabinet, it looks like whoever did it came prepared.

“It’s a vital piece of equipment and it’s a real shame this has happened.”

The former editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, Terry Hunt, has offered to pay for a replacement defibrillator after hearing news of the theft.

Mr Hunt had a near-death experience in May when he suffered a heart attack when walking into Ipswich.

His life was saved thanks to a CPR trained passerby and a paramedic, who used a defibrillator to shock him back to life.

Witnesses to the incident and anyone with information should call police on 101.

Alternatively, pass on information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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