Volunteers at a Hartlepool charity shop say they are ‘heartbroken’ after thieves broke into their store and caused £1,000 in damage.
The Epilepsy Outlook store in Oxford Road in the town was targeted on Saturday night, with raiders breaking through a number of doors to get in to the premises.
The burglars also managed to swipe the shop till, worth about £200, although no takings were inside at the time.
“The police were out after it happened and they have boarded things up,” said operations manager Jacqui Gettings. “Some officers have been back to check for fingerprints.
“The people who broke in, I don’t know how they have managed it really, but they have flattened the back door and the gate door and also broken into the inter-connecting door inside.
“They’ve probably done about £1,000 in damage which will have to be fixed.
“Luckily we had no takings inside the till because we don’t keep the money, but it’s just heartbreaking for the volunteers who work so hard.
“The people who were in on Saturday have found out about it and they’ve been in tears they’re that upset.”
The incident comes just three months after Epilepsy Outlook’s York Road store was targeted in a raid.
Nothing was stolen but the thieves removed an entire wired security window.
The charity provides support, advice and information to people with epilepsy, to help them face lifestyle changes for them and loved ones.
It also has a shop in Oxford Road and holds weekly art and craft sessions.
“It’s such a shame that people do things like this because at the end of the day we are a charity,” added Jacqui.
“We try to do things to help those living with this condition and it’s yet another setback.
“We’ll probably have to go through our insurers, which will of course push our premiums up.”
Cleveland Police has confirmed it is aware of the incident and is now carrying out inquiries.