LIFE-SAVING volunteers have been left reeling by a break-in on one of their rescue vehicles.
Thieves smashed the window of Calderdale Search and Rescue Team’s van and took a mobile phone and sat nav system while the volunteers were packing up after a training exercise.
The break-in happened within just 10 minutes.
Chairman team Pete Farnell said the team, who get no Government funding and rely on charity donations, will have to pay for the equipment to be replaced themselves.
“The people who did this, it might be their granny that we’re out looking one day,” he said.
The team had been carrying out a multi-casualty training exercise at Hardcastle Crags before the theft happened on Tuesday night.
They were unloading two of their vehicles at their base in Mytholmroyd and had left the Vauxhall Movano van and a Landrover parked on Thrush Hill Road, at the junction with Caldene Avenue, as they can only fit two vehicles in their yard at a time.
When they returned to the parked vehicles just a few minutes later, they discovered the break-in.
The van is the team’s command and control vehicle and is used for every search the team are asked to carry out.
It has been specially fitted to cope with the various demands of mountain rescue work. Inside is room for up to four team members who can operate the radios, plan searches, liaise with the police and ambulance services, create and print highly detailed maps and manage the deployment of resources.
The team attends an average of 50 call outs a year and is made up of 50 unpaid volunteers. They work with the police and paramedics to find and recover lost or injured people from remote areas and are increasingly called upon to carry out missing person searches in urban areas of Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Keighley.
It costs £30,000 a year to keep the team going. All donations go towards running costs, maintaining the base, equipment and vehicles or buying equipment.
Anyone interested in supporting the group can email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 01422 893762.
Anyone with information about the theft, which happened at 9.45pm on Tuesday, should call police via 101 or Crimestoppers, where information can be passed on anonymously, on 0800 555111.