THE theft of a lifesaving defibrillator from an Ormeau Road convenience store have led to calls for the vital device to be returned.

The £2,000 machine is thought to have been taken from the Vivo premises on the lower Ormeau in the early hours of Monday morning. The defibrillator was paid for by the local community.

A police spokesman said: “In the early hours of the 7th November someone has removed this piece of life saving equipment. Aside from the monetary value of the defibrillator it could mean the difference between someone living or dying.

“If anyone has any information please contact Constable Gillham on the non-emergency number 101 quoting the reference number 295 - 7/11/16 so we can get the defibrillator returned.”

Shop manager William Lucas said: “We think the defib went missing sometime after 2.30am. The shop usually closes around 2am and it was missing when I came in the next morning.

“Whoever took this needs to know that it is a piece of lifesaving equipment which the community paid for, it was over £2,000. It may have been taken as a joke but it’s a matter of life or death, it is vital that it is returned. I would appeal to whoever took this to bring it back or if anyone has any information could they please pass it on to either ourselves or the PSNI, we just want it back.”