Anger over theft of public defibrillator in North Walsham

The box of the defibrillator in St Nicholas Court, North Walsham. The defibrillator equipment from w

The box of the defibrillator in St Nicholas Court, North Walsham. The defibrillator equipment from within was stolen on Saturday morning. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A shocked community is pulling together to replace a stolen town centre defibrillator after paramedics believe thieves made a hoax call about a heart attack.

The life-saving equipment, worth about £800, in St Nicholas Court precinct close to Cafe Kitale, North Walsham, was discovered missing early Saturday morning.

Money for the equipment and box, installed early last year, was raised by the town council, businesses and organisations including the Rotary and Lions clubs.

Jacqueline Belson, who was town mayor from 2013-14 but is now no longer a town councillor, made it her mission to install two public access defibrillators in North Walsham.

Mrs Belson, whose father died from a heart attack six months before she became mayor, blasted the theft as 'total idiotic behaviour'.

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She praised the community who donated £700 within hours of the theft towards a new defibrillator after Cafe Kitale owner Rob Scammell put out an appeal on the Regenerate North Walsham Facebook page.

Mrs Belson said: 'I'm in total shock and disbelief about what has happened. I'm totally disgusted.'

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Ambulance service staff were called at 2.11am and the caller reported someone was having a cardiac arrest in Bacton Road, North Walsham.

Five East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) staff were sent but they couldn't find anyone.

Paramedics, who discovered the missing public defibrillator, then phoned ambulance control room staff who said they had given the caller the code to access the equipment.

Witnesses should call Norfolk police on 101.

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