Belfast Telegraph

Life-saving defibrillator stolen from shop for the second time in a year

By Donna Deeney

A heartless thief has made off with a public defibrillator attached to the wall of a shop in Londonderry - the second time a life-saving device had been targeted at the spot in a year.

The defibrillator had been donated by kind-hearted police officer Alan Moore, who is also a trained paramedic in London, after the previous theft.

In 2012, Mr Moore used one to save the life of a close friend of Dame Helen Mirren on the red carpet of a movie premiere.

Richard Campbell, who owns the Spar shop in Church Meadows, is angry the Waterside community has once again been left without this important piece of equipment.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Campbell said: "There has been a defibrillator at the shop ever since the local community came together and donated money for one - but that one was stolen last August.

"It was sickening enough, but now it has happened again.

"When the original one was taken, a retired police officer from the Metropolitan Police in London saw the footage I posted on Facebook and he very kindly replaced it for us, but this one has gone now too. We check the unit a few times a day and I did that when I came to open the shop.

"I first thought it might have been taken by someone in the community for a medical emergency, which is what it is for, but when I checked the CCTV I knew that wasn't the case.

"I contacted the police and I shared the footage on our Facebook page to let everyone know that it has been taken and to see if anyone recognises the person or knows who this person was, roaming the streets of the Waterside at 3am.

"Once again we are back to square one - a community has been left with no access to a piece of medical equipment that could very well save a life.

"A defibrillator has no resale value. Anyone who wants one can go about getting one the right way, so this was just theft for the sake of it, or wanton vandalism.

"The frustrating thing added to this is that we have just begun an initiative over the weekend where we hope to raise £5,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care through various cycling events and the Hard as Oak challenge.

"Our thought and efforts were very much with this undertaking to help Marie Curie, and then we were dealt this blow."

Mr Moore was so moved by the fact the first device had been funded by the community, that he offered to replace it himself.

The policeman is only too aware of how critical access to a defibrillator can be if someone goes into cardiac arrest.

At the 2012 London premiere of The Debt, starring Dame Helen, picture editor Chris Worwood suffered a cardiac arrest just off the red carpet. Mr Moore, who was there as a voluntary responder, performed CPR before a public-access defibrillator was rushed to him from a nearby Tube station.

The Met constable shocked Mr Worwood and kept him alive until an ambulance arrived.

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