Yobs who wrecked the cabinet holding a life-saving piece of medical equipment have been blasted by residents and ambulance chiefs.
The chorus of condemnation followed the vandalism of the defibrillator on the wall of The Wiper Company in Standish.
The offenders damaged the cabinet holding the equipment at the Wigan Road site, which means the defibrillator has to be placed inside the building and access to it is reduced until repairs are carried out.
That also means it has had to be temporarily removed from the list of defibrillators NWAS staff can point people to in an emergency when they call 999.
Furious residents who worked to get it installed say they just hope there will not be a situation when it is really needed as people will have to go to Aldi to access a defibrillator.
Debbie Parkinson, who helped campaign to get the defibrillator installed, said: “I got a call at work from the ambulance service to say it had been vandalised and I found the frame had been smashed in. I don’t know why someone would do this. It’s just incomprehensible, beyond belief. I think it’s despicable.
“It’s in the office at the Wiper Company so at least during the day people can access it, but because it’s not on the wall it’s had to be taken off the 999 service.
“This is putting Standish residents’ lives at risk because they will have to travel extra distance to Aldi and seconds literally save lives.
“My biggest fear is that somebody will need it while it’s offline.”
Lisa Stanway, community resuscitation development officer at the NWAS, said: “A mindless act of vandalism has caused this damage to a vital lifesaving piece of equipment. The defibrillator has been placed in this location to be available around the clock so that in the event of someone having a cardiac arrest it is available to potentially save lives in the community.
“It will now only be available during the shop opening hours until the necessary repairs can take place.”
Ms Parkinson says a couple of Standish residents have already stepped forward and offered to help meet the cost of repairs. The defibrillator’s box has a code which can be given out by NHS staff in emergencies.