RNLI lifeguards said they are ‘devastated’ after vital equipment was stolen.

Between the evening of Monday, August 19 and this morning, August 20, Saltburn’s RNLI lifeguard unit was allegedly broken into.

A red 4x4 quad bike, its keys and two ten-litre fuel cans were taken from the container where it was secured on the sea front.

RNLI staff said the loss of the equipment was a ‘massive blow’ during a busy summer season which has seen a rise in the number of serious incidents since last year.

Helen Williams, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said: “We are absolutely devastated that someone would do something like this.

“The vehicle that was stolen is vital lifesaving equipment used on a daily basis to assist our lifeguards. 

“Only last week it was used in a serious incident to provide help to a lady who fell from her horse and required urgent medical attention.”

It is believed the individuals had some knowledge of the unit and broke into the station sometime between the lifeguards finishing their shift on Monday and returning on Tuesday morning.

Cleveland Police are appealing for information to help their investigation and the RNLI has increased security at its lifeguard units following the incident.

Ms Williams added: “It’s been an extremely busy season on our beaches this year, with a much higher number of serious incidents than normal and this is a massive blow for the whole team at Saltburn.

“The equipment is funded by donations from the public and we just can’t understand why someone would steal from a charity.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Christopher Wragg via the non-emergency number 101, quoting the event number 142815.

Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org