A device which could make the difference between life or death has been stolen from a West Chiltington telephone box.
The Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) was stolen from a BT telephone box in Haglands Lane some time between Monday, August 26 and Sunday, September 1.
Provided by local Chiltington Area Response Team (CHART), the theft of the defibrillator could result in the loss of lives, said team leader Dave Nelson.
“It could mean a matter of life and death. The defibrillator could be crucial for a person’s survival,” said Mr Nelson.
CHART has positioned a number of defibrillators throughout the area so that, in the event of a heart attack, members of the public can act fast and use the devices.
“This is why we wanted to make them accessible to everyone in the public, but now we’ll have to put a lock on the door and people will need to call the emergency service to get the key code.”
Sussex Police has been notified of the theft and provided with the defibrillator’s serial number, making it difficult to sell on.
“It was a shock to the team. I don’t know why someone would have stolen it, nobody in our field would buy something like that from eBay.
“It’s either an opportunist thing or a lack of knowledge.”
The defibrillator, which costs £1,500, will be replaced using funds raised by the volunteer-run charity.
Mr Nelson said of the thieves: “I hope they feel ashamed.”
In a statement, South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “Evidence clearly points to early defibrillation alongside effective CPR significantly increasing the survival rates of patients suffering a cardiac arrest. The importance of members of the public learning life-saving skills and the role defibrillators can play cannot be underestimated.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact police quoting reference 4713/006/7929.