The CCTV shows a man casually walking to the machine outside a private member’s club before pulling out a crow bar and breaking into the security box.
He then grabs the vital device, worth around £1,500, and runs back to a black van that is driven off by a different man.
After informing the police of the crime, the search for the stolen item took a twist when three days later a woman handed the defibrillator back to the club - allegedly saying:“We have finished with it now.”
The president of the Victoria Club and Institute in Flamborough, East Yorkshire, has now described the theft, which took place on Saturday, as “despicable”.
Paul Lawson, 69, who has been president at the club for two years, said: “Nothing like this has ever happened before. All they have to do is come in and ask if they want to use it.
“What can I say? I think it was returned because they must be worried that we are on to them. I think they got spooked.
“It is just despicable, how low can somebody stoop? We only had it installed last year and people expect it to be there if they
“If the defibrillator is not there and someone who comes along and really needs it, it could have resulted in a death.
“When the woman came to give it back on Tuesday she had parked quite far away so we couldn’t see the car. She came in and said ‘we have finished with it now’ and walked off.
“The police have now taken it away.”
Questions are now being asked as to why the man took the life-saving unit in the first place.
Defibrillators are used to deliver a shock to restart a patients heart when they are in cardiac arrest, and can mean the difference between life and death for residents in rural towns like Flamborough.
A spokesperson for Humberside Police said: “We are investigating following the theft of a defibrillator machine from The Flamborough Victoria Club And Institute on Chapel Street, Flamborough at 4.30pm on Saturday 10 January 2015.
“Anyone with information should call Humberside Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 2091103.”
The equipment was originally supplied to Flamborough in 2014 as part of an initiative by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
David Morton, a Flamborough Parish Councillor, said: “I really am at a loss for words.
“The fact it was returned does not take away from how despicable the theft was in the first place.
“If there is an incident in Flamborough, this equipment needs to be accessible.
“You dont need to be trained to use them - if somebody suspects someone may have had a heart attack, the 999 operator will instruct them on where to find the machine and how to use it.
“How can anyone be so despicable as to steal an item that is there for the sole purpose of saving lives? “It’s of no use to anyone for anything at all but saving lives.
“I am really thankful to the Victoria Club and Institute for agreeing to provide the defibrillator with a supply of electricity so forst doesn’t damage it.”
Paul Stevens, the locality manager at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service spoke of how important community accessible defibrillators are to rural towns and villages.
He said: “In 2014 the Yorkshire Ambulance Service provided 100 defibrillators to towns and villages in Yorkshire.
“This was a key initiative to raise awareness of defibrillators - we are trying to improve heart attack victim’s chances of survival.
“We place these in outlying areas where getting an ambulance there can be challenging and Flamborough is one of these areas - they can make the difference between life and death.
“If anyone was offered a defibrillator for purchase we would encourage you to contact the police or the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
“I want to assure the public that we will do everything in our power to replace it as soon as possible.”
The first theft of a defibrillator in Yorkshire comes after eight defibrillators were stolen in Bristol recently.