VANDALS have put ‘lives at risk’ after stealing and breaking a defibrillator belonging to a running group.
Leamington Parkrun – a weekly free running team – raised almost £2,000 to buy the defibrillator which was then placed outside the sports pavilion in Jephson Gardens.
But the team, which has some 450 members, believe a group of youths broken into the box after it was found at a playground on Newbold Comyn.
It was handed into the Emergency Department at Warwick Hospital before being returned to the runners.
The machine – which when used gives a shock to someone having a heart attack – has now had to be sent to the USA for repairs, a cost which will be covered by the group and West Midlands Ambulance Service.
A spokeswoman said: “Defibrillators are vital pieces of equipment which can help save a life while waiting for the ambulance.
“Across the UK on rare occasions at parkruns there have been the occasional collapse requiring defibrillation to help.
“Leamington parkrun raised funds to help in such a case only for some imbecile to break into the box and break the life saving tool.
“We are searching for a replacement defibrillator until this one is fixed. Whoever stole this has risked lives.”