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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

13 December 2021

| | 3 min read


Lifesaving defibrillator stolen from Fenham Library

Ambulance crews, police and council health officials have made a plea for the safe return of lifesaving equipment stolen from a Newcastle library.

Fenham library defibrillator cabinet, with close up detail of the damage caused by thieves

Thieves have broken into a locked metal cabinet on the outside of Fenham Library, stealing the bag containing the community’s defibrillator.

Cllr John Paul Stephenson, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet member for public health and culture, said: “We are obviously very upset that such an essential and well used piece of lifesaving equipment has been taken.

“A defibrillator is of no value to anyone who has taken it as they wouldn’t be able to use it and there was no medication or other equipment in the bag.

“However it could be the difference between life and death for people in our community – Something this particular piece of equipment has been repeatedly in recent months.

“This is a truly mindless crime and one that I’d hope anyone with information would contact police about, as in taking this, it is an attack on the lives of everyone in the surrounding area.”

What is a defibrillator?

A defibrillator is life-saving equipment that can be used to help someone suffering cardiac arrest – That is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly.

The Fenham Library machine had been deployed three times to emergencies in the local area over recent months, most recently on November 2.

When was the defibrillator stolen?

It is believed the defibrillator was stolen between 5pm on Monday November 8 and 9.30am on Tuesday November 9, when devastated staff discovered it was gone.

Theft puts lives at risk

While the equipment will cost around £2,000 to replace, it has little worth to anyone who would steal it, but is invaluable to those in need.

Paul Brolly, of North East Ambulance Service’s community resuscitation team, said: “Every second counts when someone has had a cardiac arrest, and in those first few minutes whilst an ambulance crew is travelling, community defibrillators can literally save a person’s life.

“This defibrillator has now been unavailable for the local community for nearly a month, potentially putting lives at risk.

“We would urge anyone who knows where this one might be to please contact the police immediately and help us arrange its safe return back to the community where it belongs.”
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "This is potentially putting lives at risk and we would urge anyone with any information to please contact police."

If you have information

Anyone with any information should contact police on the Tell us Something pages of the Northumbria Police website or contact 101 quoting reference 124787M/21.