LIVES are being put at risk following the theft and damage of lifebelts from Seaford’s seafront.
There are fears a fatality could occur if the vital life-saving equipment is unavailable.
The first incident took place between October 23 and November 6 at Bonningstedt Parade where the casing was damaged and the lifebelt snapped into pieces.
Then between November 6 and November 20, opposite the end of The Causeway, the ring was removed and the lifebelt, minus the safety rope, later found in the seafront shelter near the Martello Tower.
Earlier this year a quick-thinking member of the public used one of the life rings to throw to a lad who got into difficulty in the sea.
Seaford Sergeant Andy Bennett has branded the recent spate of offending as ‘highly irresponsible’, adding, ““It’s highly irresponsible as well as against the law to damage this items and they could put peoples lives at risk.”
Pete Gwilliam, chairman of Seaford Lifeguards, said this time of year was notorious for people going into the sea, particularly to rescue their dogs that may have wandered into the water and got into difficulty.
He added, “If someone gets into trouble they rely on that life buoy and if it’s vandalised, damaged or missing it could be fatal.
“There’s a hefty fine if anyone is caught damaging the equipment.”
Seaford Town clerk, Sam Shippen, added, “The town council is concerned that the foolishness of those involved in this theft and damage are potentially putting lives at risk should anyone get into trouble in the sea.
“We are grateful to Seaford Lifeguards who carry out weekly checks in the summer and fortnightly in the winter and report any damage to the council.”