Communities have expressed their anger and horror after a piece of lifesaving equipment – installed after a teenage footballer collapsed and died – was set alight by vandals.
The bright yellow defibrillator at Greenside Playing Fields in Euxton was targeted last Thursday night by mindless criminals who set fire to the equipment.
It was installed by Euxton Parish Council after Melissa Smith collapsed and died while playing for Cadley FC against Euxton Girls.
Melissa, 15, died after collapsing on the pitch at Greenside in October 2014. She was treated with CPR and a defibrillator but died at Royal Preston Hospital.
Images released over the weekend show the yellow life saving machine blackened down one side after being targeted with fire.
An Euxton Girls spokesman took to social media lambasting the vandals saying: “If anyone has any information on who may have decided to set the defibrillator on fire at Greenside, could you please direct message us their name? We’d like to ‘educate’ the perpetrator.”
Chorley Coun Danny Gee, who represents Euxton North ward, said he was ‘disgusted and saddened’ by the incident.
He said: “My reaction is as everybody else’s – utter disgust that anyone could do that. I believe it can still be used but I’m not one hundred per cent certain.
“But this is something that saves people’s lives. Euxton Parish Council put these on and all credit to them for putting this on. Why someone would want to damage something like that or destroy it is beyond me.
“We presume it’s children. They need to be educated especially nowadays with knife crime and things like that – these things can save people’s lives."
There are a total of five public use defibrillators across Euxton, financed by the parish council.
Parish council clerk Debra Platt explained that rubbish had been wedged in to the rubber seal around the equipment, before being set alight.
And while it remains operational, Debra added: “What sort of person does this? What if they or they their parents ever need to use it?”
Steve Flynn is club chairman at Preston-based Cadley FC and was also chairman of the club when Melissa died.
Steve said: “It’s just a total shock; you don’t expect anything like that. I have been talking trying to ring the committee members this morning to see what we can do. It’s just taken me aback that someone would do something like that.”
Cadley FC confirmed that the club’s committee is set to meet to discuss the situation.
Call police on 101 quoting incident number LC-20190328-0928 if you have any information.