Residents have reacted with shock and anger after a defibrillator in a borough community vanished.
The vital piece of life-saving medical equipment disappeared from the box on the wall of the Aldi supermarket in Standish.
The container for the defibrillator at the Preston Road store has also been badly damaged.
The incident and the loss of the kit was discovered on Tuesday.
It is understood that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have been contacted.
The possibility that thieves may have been deliberately attacked the box and taken the defibrillator has unsurprisingly enraged Standish residents, including politicians who played a role in getting the equipment installed in the first place.
Coun Debbie Parkinson wrote on social media: “Unfortunately it has been reported that the defib box at Aldi has been caved in and the defribillator is missing.
“Police are involved but if you have seen or heard anything please get in touch.
“Let’s hope no one needs it! Mindless if it has been stolen.”
Coun Parkinson originally worked with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) as a Heartstart volunteer to get the defibrillator installed in 2015, before she was elected to the council chamber.
Condemnation of the possible theft of the defibrillator at Aldi swiftly followed after the news was revealed on a Standish Facebook group.
One angry comment said: “Nothing surprises me these days which is a shame to say. There are that many idiots about.”
Another poster wrote: “There really are some scum bags out there. I’d like to be more subtle with my vocabulary but I think it fits on this occasion.”
Sadly this is not the first time defibrillators in Standish have been trashed by yobs.
The cabinet holding a defibrillator on the wall of The Wiper Company on Wigan Road was wrecked in 2017, with the equipment having to be stored inside the building and therefore unavailable for 24-hour emergencies for a while until the storage item was repaired.
Defibrillators are used to help someone who is in cardiac arrest by giving a high-energy electric shock to the heart.
The machine gives the user a series of instructions to follow, meaning it can be operated by someone without any training.
Residents will be directed to their nearest defibrillator by the ambulance service if they ring 999 in a cardiac arrest situation.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of the Standish defibrillator should call police on 101 or ring independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.