Police are on the hunt for thieves who ransacked a Northern Ireland coastguard station during a spate of burglaries in Co Londonderry.
The break-in, which happened overnight on Tuesday, was discovered by a volunteer at the Coleraine Coastguard station this morning.
A number of other premises in the same business park were also targeted, police said.
Station officer Alistair Simpson said he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.
He told the News Letter: “One of volunteers was driving past the station on his way to work when he noticed a window had been forced open.”
The team was forced to suspend its activities for a time yesterday to ensure all their lifesaving equipment was accounted for and safe to use.
“Thankfully the thieves made off with very little,” Mr Simpson added.
“They ransacked the building completely, and went through our two rescue vehicles.
“In the end they took a few personal items belonging to the volunteers, but they didn’t touch any of our rescue equipment.
“I am happy to report that we are now back online.”
The incident was met with revulsion and outrage on social media, with scores of people expression their disgust at those responsible.
East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden said that the people behind the break-in should be ashamed.
“Not only have you disgusted a community and town, you have put lives at risk by removing a vital service due to your pathetic behaviour,” she added.
“Coleraine Coastguard provides a life saving service on the north coast. Their work is tireless, selfless and absolutely necessary.
“Most of those working for the Coastguard are volunteers, giving their time and energy for others.
“Those responsible for this attack would do well to learn from the example of these volunteers because they are clearly selfish thugs with no regard for others.”