Beyton community hits out at ‘thoughtless’ vandals for firework attack on defibrillator

Villagers from Beyton with MP Jo Churchill for the official opening of a defibrilator in their village phone box last month.

Villagers from Beyton with MP Jo Churchill for the official opening of a defibrilator in their village phone box last month.

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A council leader has slammed ‘thoughtless’ vandals who set off a firework in a phone box containing a life-saving defibrillator which was recently installed in a community-rallying project.

The incident on Tuesday night caused some damage within the phone box on Beyton village green - exposing the electrical wires to the defibrillator but the power supply to the vital equipment is still working.

(L-R)Ruby Last and Jo Churchill MP officially open the new defibrilator in the village phonebox in Beyton. ANL-161022-185246009

(L-R)Ruby Last and Jo Churchill MP officially open the new defibrilator in the village phonebox in Beyton. ANL-161022-185246009

The defibrillator was recently installed in the first major project betweeen the community and Thurston Community College since its sixth form opened in the village two years ago.

Graham Jones, chairman of Beyton Parish Council which collaborated with Beyton Village Association and the college on the initiative, said: “It’s so thoughtless and senseless.

“We cannot think of any reason why anyone would do this.

“Maybe they will need the defibrillator one day or maybe someone close to them needs it one day. How would they feel?

“How would they also feel if someone died because it isn’t available? The answer is they probably wouldn’t give a monkey’s unfortunately.”

He said an elderly lady who lives near to the phone box had been ‘frightened by something hitting her window’ at 11pm on Tuesday.

“She heard a bang on her window which she said was extremely loud and she was frightened to go outside,” Mr Jones said. “She went to the window and saw a car rushing off from the vicinity of the phone kiosk.”

Mr Jones said he found a rocket stick near to the phone box.

Thurston College student Ruby Last played an instrumental role in helping to secure a £2,000 grant from the National Lottery for the project.

This paid for the installation of the defibrillator, refurbishing the phone box and for awarenes training sessions to teach residents how to use the device.

Ruby, who unveiled the equipment with Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill last month, said the college was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support for the defibrillator and is ‘disappointed’ someone tried to damage it.

The 17-year-old said: “It’s so important the defibrillator stays in working order - it might be needed to save someone’s life.”

The defibrillator is insured by charity The Community Heartbeat Trust, which also funded the training sessions - one of which was due to be held at the college on Thursday night.

It follows an incident in Rougham between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in which vandals blew up two post boxes using fireworks. Police are investigating the possibility that the Beyton and Rougham incidents are linked.

Anyone with information about the Beyton incident should call police on 101 quoting reference 367 of November 2.