Defibrillator theft shocks community

David Hekelaar, of Tarves Community Council, David Bell, of Udny Community Trust and Ros Deane, of Barthol Chapel Community Association with the Udny Green defibrillator that was stolen
David Hekelaar, of Tarves Community Council, David Bell, of Udny Community Trust and Ros Deane, of Barthol Chapel Community Association with the Udny Green defibrillator that was stolen

The Udny Community Trust will step up its efforts to raise awareness about the importance of defibrillators following the theft of the area’s device last month.

The life-saving device was taken from its cabinet in Udny Green and later found damaged and dumped on the side of the B9000 between Pitmedden and Logierieve.

The defibrillator, which was security marked by Udny Community Trust, was returned and the incident reported to the police.

Fortunately, the Trust was able to quickly replace the device with an alternative one which had been donated by ADTI of Aberdeen.

However, this means that a planned extension to the scheme cannot now go ahead.

The Udny Green theft has not been an isolated incident as both Oldmeldrum and Newtonhill communities have also been affected by recent defibrillator thefts.

Eleanor Morris, Development Officer at Udny Community Trust, said: “While planning and organising the defibrillator project in our area the message that came across from all over Scotland was that incidents on theft or vandalism were incredibly rare, that is why it is so dispiriting to have this happen here in Aberdeenshire.”

Defibrillators are lifesaving pieces of equipment, especially in rural areas, because when someone has a cardiac arrest every second counts.

They are becoming commonplace in Scotland as a way communities can help themselves to be ready for emergency situations, but they need to be publicly available, making them vulnerable to malicious incidents.

PC Kev Marron, Crime Reduction Constable for Police Scotland, added: “These type of pointless thefts are a blight on the communities we live in and the consequences could be catastrophic.

“The units are carefully property marked so they have no resale value and so once the thieves realise this they have to dispose of the units.

“Our enquiries are currently ongoing in respect of identifying the individuals responsible for such reprehensible crimes and I would encourage anyone who has any information regarding the theft of defibrillators to telephone Police Scotland on 101 or telephone Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555 if they wish to remain anonymous.”

Anyone in the Udny area interested in hosting or attending an awareness session should call 01651 843776.