Southport Offshore Rescue Trust is appealing for donations after an inflatable training boat was destroyed by vandals.

The inflatable D-Class lifeboat had previously seen 30 years of front line service but was more recently used as a permanent training aid, before the boat was slashed with multiple knife cuts by vandals.

SORT said: “Following our social-media post regarding the vandalism of our ex D-Class lifeboat, we have been inundated with messages of support from the people of Southport, local businesses and the surrounding community. As a crew, we are overwhelmed by the response of our supporters.

“We would like to thank everyone who has offered their support; through messages, donations, offers of storage for our equipment, security services and more.

“Unfortunately, the vessel is damaged beyond repair and it would be more cost-effective for the Trust to purchase a new training vessel. We have decided to fundraise for new training equipment and any support is very much appreciated.

“You can donate via the following link http://www.southport-lifeboat.co.uk/more_info.asp?current_id=81 

“Our thanks from all at SORT.”