THE theft and vandalism of lifebuoys is causing concern across Lewes District – and could be putting lives at risk.
Lifebuoys are public rescue equipment available to all in case of an emergency. Those in the district are maintained and replaced on a regular basis.
Lewes District Council, the local town councils and voluntary organisations work together in partnership to maintain and check the lifebuoys to ensure that they are ready for use.
The council looks after the area around The Pells in Lewes, Seaford Town Council is responsible for the area around Splash Point and Newhaven Coastwatch and the Seaford Lifeguards help to inspect the lifebuoys along the coastal stretch.
Unfortunately, vandalism to all kinds of public property takes place including public rescue equipment. Bill Cornish, from Newhaven Coastwatch, who inspects the lifebuoys in Peacehaven, said: “It wasn’t until I began checking the lifebelts along the Promenade that I saw the shocking level of vandalism that takes place. A few weeks ago, the line from a lifebelt was stolen again, less than an hour after it had just been replaced.”
Robbie Robertson, Lewes District Council’s Lead Councillor for Community Engagement and Health and the Environment, said: “Vandalism is bad enough but we are very concerned that some lifebuoys are now going missing.
“Having lifebuoys in place for rescue operations can make all the difference to the outcome of an accident. Lifebuoys save lives and anyone involved in a rescue operation needs equipment that works.”
According to local bylaws “no person shall except in case of emergency remove from or displace within the ground or otherwise tamper with any life-saving appliance provided by the Council”.