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RNLI lifeguard equipment stolen in overnight break-in

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards in the South Hams arrived to prepare for their daily beach patrols this morning (Friday 1 June) to find the engine for their inshore rescue boat had been taken.


Lifeguards Dave Tunbridge and Alistair Williams discovered the break in

Lifeguards Dave Tunbridge and Alistair Williams discovered the storage unit housing the engine at Bigbury-on-Sea had been broken into overnight.

The storage unit had been locked shortly after the lifeguards finished their daily beach patrol at 6pm on Thursday 31 June.

Lifeguard Supervisor for the South Hams Rebecca Fox says: ‘We take great pride in our work and the equipment we use to keep beachgoers around the coast safe. It’s extremely disappointing that our storage unit was broken into overnight. Having viewed CCTV we think it may have happened at just before 11pm and we’d ask anyone with any information to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101.’

The charity’s lifeguards across the south west dealt with 7,982 incidents, assisting 10,080 people in 2017.

Rebecca added: ‘Our inshore rescue boats allow our lifeguards to respond quickly to rescue people in trouble at sea and it’s a real shame that the engine to this vital piece of kit has been taken.

‘Thankfully we’ve been able to keep our inshore rescue boat on service and our patrols have not been affected. We’d like to thank the local community for all of their support.’

The RNLI would ask anyone planning a visit to the coast to head to a lifeguarded beach where a team of lifeguards is on hand to offer safety advice to beachgoers.

To find details of your nearest lifeguarded beach visit

Notes to editors
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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland