UPAVON’S life-saving defibrillator has been destroyed by vandals.

It has been smashed beyond repair, leaving the village praying that no-one will need to make use of it.

The damage was caused to the defibrillator which is in a former phone box on Andover Road in Upavon, at some point between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Parish councillor Mandy Wernham said the device was “wrecked beyond repair” in “a mindless act of vandalism”.

“Lets hope no one needs it,” she added.

It’s one of just two devices located in public spaces in the village which has a population of 4,400 people.

Upavon Parish Council Chairman, John Tighe said:

“This is totally beyond belief. Somebody has taken the defibrillator out of it’s casing and literally smashed it up.

“This is stupid, mindless and dangerous, and is a potential risk to life.”

He is joined in condemnation of the act by a litany of outraged comments on social media.

Darren Coombs said: “Irresponsible. If caught, they deserve a severe punishment as this act of vandalism could cost someone their life.”

Diana Wickens said: “We live in Upavon, and needed the defib a year or so ago. Goodness knows what would have happened if this had been wrecked. Luckily, it saved my partner’s life.”

Other posts on Facebook called for a naming and shaming, claiming that local people may be responsible for this.

Cllr Tighe said the defibrillator will be replaced, and that it cost the parish council between two and three thousand pounds.

“We need to replace this,” he said.

“We have two defibrillators, but they are far apart and will take valuable minutes to reach if someone is in trouble.”

He said the cost of the new apparatus, which is maintained by St John Ambulance, and linked to Wiltshire’s ambulance service will be met from public funds.

The parish council is now talking to insurers in the hope that the damage can be paid for.

“We will replace this as soon as we can,” said parish council vice-chairman Bob MacDonald.

“It will leave our parish funds very low if it is not covered by insurance, but this is such a vital thing for us to have in Upavon.”

The village is more than 40 minutes drive in each direction to the nearest hospitals in Swindon and Salisbury.

Both defibrillators have been used in the last couple of years, and, says Bob, they are literally a life line.

“Time is critical when someone is having heart problems,” he said. “These defibrillators are vital for rural life, and we are so saddened by this act of vandalism which could cost someone their life.”

Wiltshire Police is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to contact them or call Crimestoppers. on 0800 555 111.