Lifesaving water safety equipment was reported damaged and missing along the River Tay over the weekend.
Tay Coastwatch relayed the damage on Twitter, urging anyone who spots vandals to report them.
Volunteers discovered the damage during their regular patrols. Sunday evening checks found that numerous life rings were damaged and 14 rescue poles were missing.
The thefts appear to be focused along the Riverside Drive area.
The damaged life rings required essential maintenance, as some were cracked and faulty.
‘Every second counts’
The faulty life rings would not work in the event of an emergency, which has raised fears that lives are being put at risk.
Coastal Operations Area Commander for HM Coastguard Ross Greenhill said: “Every single second counts when someone is in difficulty in the water and therefore the reckless act of stealing or damaging a life ring or throw line could be the difference between someone surviving or not.
“Life rings and throw lines are situated along the coast and are there to be thrown to a person in the water to prevent them from drowning.
“Think twice before you damage or remove this vital life-saving equipment – remember it could be your friend or family member that needs saving.”
People who see someone in trouble at the coast or at sea should call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
Unfortunately a number of life rings required maintenance this evening and 14 rescue poles are missing all along Riverside drive. pic.twitter.com/ujQ2MkmRut
— Coastwatch Tay Coastal Safety & Surveillance Org (@CoastwatchTay) July 18, 2021
Anyone who witnesses theft or interference with the lifesaving equipment is encouraged to contact the police on 101.
People can also report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Coastwatch Tay is a small team of uniformed volunteers who keep watch over activities on the Tay estuary.
The team was formed in 2009 as an autonomous, volunteer-run coastal safety and monitoring organisation.
The mobile coastal safety patrols involve inspecting life saving equipment and providing water safety advice and information to the public.
Tay Coastwatch is affiliated to the Sea Safety Group, which is an association of independent coastwatch stations operating across the United Kingdom.