THIEVES stole vital equipment from the Town Beach lifeguard tower on Friday night.
The popular patrolled beach was not open until 10.30am Saturday morning when regular hours are from 9.15am.
A window was smashed to gain entry and the small space ransacked sometime overnight.
An oxy-viva resuscitator worth more than $1000 was stolen.
The tower door and windows were padlocked.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council senior lifeguard Grant Hudson was baffled as to why anyone would steal life-saving equipment.
“This equipment was there to save lives and is not worth anything to anyone else,” Mr Hudson said.
“I can’t imagine what the motive could possibly have been.”
Saturday morning was frantic for staff as they tracked down spare equipment to prepare for the influx of beach-goers.
They borrowed a unit from Flynns Beach because this area was not patrolled on the weekend.
The equipment had to be tested.
Police gathered evidence including fingerprints of the crime scene.
Mr Hudson said not only was this incident an inconvenience for lifeguards but the public suffered too while having to wait for the later patrol time.
“It was a bit of a bummer for everyone,” he said.
This is the first break, enter and steal offence Mr Hudson could recall at the tower.
He said often people on a night out would climb up the facility to get an elevated view of the ocean.
“No one has actually caused damage until now,” Mr Hudson said.
Additional security measures for the tower and other beach facilities will be investigated.
Police are continuing investigations into the break-in.