Man (29) charged after defibrillator damaged in east Belfast
A 29-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with criminal damage after a defibrillator was damaged in east Belfast, just a week after it was installed.
The 24-hour public access defibrillator outside David Crymble and Sons Funeral Directors on Woodstock Road was vandalised at around 3pm on Sunday.
Police later arrested the 29-year-old, who is to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on December 23.
CCTV footage showed four men in the vicinity at the time and one smashing the glass. Crucially the machine was not stolen.
Funeral director Andrew Crymble said he was extremely saddened that people had "maliciously vandalised" the new defibrillator.
"We officially opened and launched the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) only seven days ago and I am disappointed at such heartless behaviour," he said.
In the wake of the vandalism and a wave of support expressed online the funeral director has set up a fundraising account to help instal more defibrillators in east and south Belfast.
"I would like to turn this act into something positive hence setting up the following Justgiving page in order to raise funds for more external AEDS in our local community," Mr Crymble said.
To donate to the campaign visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfundin
The Irish News revealed this week that since January 2010, 14 defibrillators have been stolen across the north and eight of the devices – which are used in cardiac emergencies – subjected to criminal damage.
The latest defibrillator theft occurred at a shop on south Belfast’s Ormeau Road this month.
Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.