CALLOUS thugs have wrecked a life-saving defibrillator system outside a historic library building in a shocking act of vandalism.
Heartless yobs shattered glass casing surrounding the newly installed device, before tearing it off the railings outside the McDonald Road Library on Monday evening - causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
The device - installed by charity St John Scotland in February - was later found dumped on a patch of waste ground near a building site on Brunswick Road on Tuesday morning and has since been tested for damage by experts.
However the incident has been branded “shameless” by local community leaders, who have called for the offenders to be punished.
Green councillor Susan Rae said: “I, like the rest of our community, have zero tolerance for such an act of vindictive vandalism. Whoever did this did so fully aware that their actions could put lives at risk, possibly those of their own friends and families.”
“My sympathy and empathy go to St John Scotland who must feel both disheartened and infuriated to see their efforts literally trashed.”
Cllr Rae added: “The result of this shameless act could have been someone’s death.”
The defib was installed at the category B listed building by St John Scotland as part of their campaign to increase public access to the emergency devices.
The St John and the City project saw more than 130 defibrillators installed across the capital for public access use, with hopes they could save dozens of lives.
Project leader Lynn Cleal said the charity was awaiting results of the tests, adding that the bill for damage caused to the unit could be as much as £500.
She said : “It’s really upsetting that someone has senselessly vandalised this defibrillator. We were really pleased to have been able to install the defib at the library, joining two others in Leith to serve the local community.”
She continued: “We hope we’ll be able to repair it and get it back into service as soon as possible, and to be able to replace the damaged cabinet as soon as we can.”
PC Mairi McDonald from Leith police station encouraged anyone with information on the incident to come forward, adding: “This was a despicable act with the theft of this equipment depriving the community of a life-saving resource.”
“Thankfully the defibrillator has now been recovered but we are eager to trace those responsible.”
PC McDonald added: “I would urge anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity around the McDonald Road area overnight on Monday 9 April into Tuesday 10 April, or who knows who is responsible, to contact us as soon as possible.”