Vandals have been damaging heart defibrillators at railway stations across Wales.
Defibrillators, which are used to give a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, were recently installed at several stations by Transport for Wales.
Since their instillation, seven incidents of defibrillators being damaged (above) or stolen have been reported in the last nine months at locations including Pencoed, Ninian Park, Briton Ferry, Sarn, Llandeilio and Llandudno.
Officers are patrolling stations and cameras have been installed to capture incidents and pursue prosecution against any offenders. Defibrillators have also been locked in cabinets to prevent theft or damage but this can delay their life-saving use.
According to British Heart Foundation Cymru, there are around 2,800 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Wales each year, but just 1 in 20 people survive or approximately 140 people live.
Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.
British Transport Police Inspector Richard Powell said, “Lives are being put at risk by people who steal and vandalise defibrillators.
“Offenders should think how they would feel if they themselves, or their relatives, were unable to be saved because of equipment being out of order due to vandalism or theft.
“If anyone witnesses anything suspicious on the railway, text us on 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.”
Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales, added, “It is extremely disappointing that within weeks of the first phase of life-saving defibrillators being installed at TfW railway stations, a number have been vandalised and will now need to be repaired.
“The defibrillators are a vital tool for the whole community and this vandalism is putting people’s lives at risk.”