A SEARCH and rescue team covering Herefordshire has issued its most important shout-out to date.

West Mercia Search and Rescue (WMSAR) is on the lookout for a cash injection to buy a trailer featuring vital equipment including a defibrillator, hyperthermia kit and rescue equipment which would be kept in the Leominster area.

At present the charity, which relies on donations, has similar units in Telford and Worcester meaning rescuers here in Herefordshire currently have to wait until that back-up arrives.

In total they need £1,200 for the trailer, which would be used to cover both north Herefordshire and south Shropshire.

"We provide cover for the fire and police services, dealing with missing people, floods and river rescues, although we don't receive any funding," said Andy MacAuley, the head of land search with WMSAR.

"We've got two team vehicles; one based in Worcester and the other in Telford.

"But what we don't have is equipment storage in the north Herefordshire and south Shropshire area and that's why we want this box trailer.

"So this winter we hope to provide it. It will hold medical equipment and rescue equipment to form a base for our operations before our other vehicles arrive."

The charity has about 50 members with running costs totalling £12,500 a year. Last year it received 58 callouts.

"We are an independent charity and we all have other jobs," Mr MacAuley added.

"We all respond together. But at the moment it is very Shropshire and Worcestershire heavy; most of our members are based there.

"So we've identified that Herefordshire is an area in which we need to grow.

"We would look to station this trailer in Herefordshire, possibly Leominster, with one of our members picking it up."

He said a recent recruitment drive in this area saw them take on 14 trainees.

The charity has searched for various funding opportunities including approaching Herefordshire Council for help.

"We, as a council, couldn't provide them with funding but we have put them in touch with our funding officers who will be able to point them in the right direction," said Cllr Barry Durkin.

"This is a vital service and all the members I've spoken to have agreed and supported their cause."

To donate visit wmsar.org.uk