THE parish council in Halwill has praised South West Ambulance Service for reinstating a stolen defibrillator in a short space of time, writes Zoë Uglow.

The defibrillator was stolen recently from outside the village hall at Halwill Junction. This is the second defibrillator to have been stolen from Halwill in two years.

Chair of the parish council, Mike Duda, said: “It has been very disappointing. This is the second theft we have had. The first defibrillator was stolen from the telephone box in Halwill town and the second from the hall entrance.”

During 2012 and 2013 a huge community effort was made to raise the money needed to purchase two defibrillators for the village. Halwill is a rural community and it can often take longer for an ambulance to reach a person experiencing, for example, a heart attack.

The defibrillators in the village can increase a patient’s chances of survival and are a vital resource for the area.

The parish council’s clerk, Don Osborne, told the Post that the South West Ambulance Foundation Trust were brilliant and replaced both the stolen units within days of them being stolen.

However concerns have been raised over the risk to life if these defibrillators are stolen again.

Cllr Duda promised that a number of steps will be discussed by the council ‘in order to prevent reoccurrence’. He added: “It is the danger to life of not having one in a village that has a number of elderly residents that is concerning. The council will be discussing this very seriously and looking at what will be our next steps.”

Cllr Duda said possible next steps would be to install CCTV and floodlighting to help deter thieves.

He said: “We will look into the viability of CCTV, I believe you can have cameras in the box itself, or floodlighting. I really want lights to come on as someone approaches the box, but this will be discussed further by the council.

“The other alternative is to have it in a locked box, but this seems to defeat the purpose. If you need to use the box and have to, for example, ring someone to get the key by the time you’ve opened the box the casualty is probably dead.”

He added: “I want people to know that the parish council are going to act in order to protect the village against this happening again. We will discuss the situation with the police and hopefully prevent any loss of life caused by theives who do not care about the consequence of their actions.”

If anyone knows the whereabouts of the defibrillator they are asked to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the police on the non emergency 101 line or email [email protected] quoting CR/081421/17