The vandalised equipment is used by team members to boost radio signals during rescues

The vandalised equipment is used by team members to boost radio signals during rescues

Vandals have damaged a vital piece of equipment belonging to a mountain rescue team.

A radio repeater used by the Woodhead team has been vandalised and its battery stolen.

The team said that, without the repeater, communications between team members will be affected and it could take longer to reach casualties.

The cost of replacing the gear could reach £2,000.

A team spokesperson said: “The areas where mountain rescue are most active often have no phone signal and so Woodhead MRT rely on radio communications to bridge that gap.

“Even then the radio communication can be limited in some areas due to the terrain of the Peak District. To reduce these communication blackspots we install a limited number of devices out on the hill side to aid us with good communications.

“This week we discovered one of these devices had been vandalised and the device battery stolen.

“Consequentially this means that when Woodhead MRT are out on the hill responding to emergencies of people injured or lost the work will be made more difficult. This may result in the team taking longer to locate the lost or injured that urgently need help.

“The cost of replacement equipment is still being evaluated but could run up to £2,000.”

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team is a voluntary service funded through donations or fundraising activities. Team leader Keith Wakeley said: “It’s really disappointing that our equipment has been vandalised and the potential impact that this could have in the service we provide the public.”

The team said it is still responding to callouts. The radio repeater is situated on high ground and boosts hand-held radio signals. The spokesperson said: “We will really struggle to make quick contact through radio to get further instruction in response to an emergency or to pass on information about the people we have been called to help.

“Until we have this equipment repaired we will need to consider adjusting our rescue strategy to best accommodate the emergency scenario and our current communication limitations.”

The Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team, based near Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, covers the hills and moorlands of the South Pennines and the northern Peak District.

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