TWO lifeboats have been put out of action after vandals slashed them.
The Ryde Inshore Rescue lifeboats, on the Isle of Wight, were stabbed more than 20 times at some point between Sunday and Monday evening.
It means the boats, which are run by an independent organisation, will be unusable during the busiest time of the year - the school summer holidays.
Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs) will be one of several stations called in to cover any calls made to Ryde Inshore Rescue.
A statement on the Isle of Wight organisation’s website said: ‘Ryde Inshore Rescue will be unable to attend any emergency call outs until further notice.
‘If anyone has any information please ring 01983 564564, leave a message on our Facebook page Ryde Inshore Rescue or telephone the police.
‘Last year we saved 97 people and July and August are our busiest times of year.
‘All crew and members are volunteers on call 365 days of the year. Please, please if you are down the beach with your children be watchful as we are not able to assist.’
A Gafirs spokesman added that they were ‘horrified’ by the incident.