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  1. ITV Report

Fears defibrillators are being stolen by organised crime gangs

There's fears organised crime gangs are stealing vital defibrillators and selling them abroad- putting lives at risk.

A number of the life-saving devices have been stolen across the region.

Staff at a non-league football club in Essex say "their faith in humanity has been restored" after a stolen defibrillator was replaced free of charge.

A device was also stolen at FC Clacton Credit: ITV News Anglia

Vandals smashed their way into FC Clacton on Sunday morning and made off with the life-saving equipment.

However, the club have confirmed that a replacement has since been donated by Cardiac Science.

Local company, Superior Exteriors, have also repaired the damage to the clubhouse without asking for a fee.

The club said it received messages of support from other non-league teams and fans even offered to help cover the costs.

"Some scummy lowlife broke into the club in the early hours of Sunday, causing damage & stealing our defibrillator," the club said in a statement.

"However, our initial shock and disgust at this act was soon forgotten as we were overwhelmed by kind offers of support and funding by our amazing supporters, the wider public, businesses and other clubs in the non-league Community.

"Following this, we are delighted to announce that the damage has been repaired at no charge by Martin Davidson of Superior Exteriors, and Cardiac Science have donated a replacement defibrillator to the club. Our faith in humanity has been restored."

The device was stolen from Newmarket's memorial hall. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A defibrillator was also stolen from the front of Newmarket's Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening (6th August).

It was installed last year, after a member of the public collapsed at an event.

The community raised funds to buy the device, as a priority to protect the public.

A business owner has now stepped in and volunteered to replace the defibrillator outside Memorial Hall.

"There has been an outcry about this disgraceful theft. It is distressing for the people who've gone to a lot of trouble and donated funds and of course it's a matter of life and death and ours has been stolen.

"We are told that there is a secondary market abroad somewhere and people, gangs are stealing these defibrillators and selling them on", Rachel Wood, Mayor of Newmarket said.

There's also been similar incidents in Heybridge, Dovercourt, Chatteris and Ipswich in the last year.