Bosses have branded thieves who ransacked a hospice charity shop “disgusting”.
Donations made to the Hartlepool & District Hospice charity shop in Horden were stolen over the weekend.
Staff discovered the break-in this morning when they arrived at the shop, in Blackhills Road, to open up.
Senior retail manager, Karen Witherley, said the shop was closed at 4pm on Saturday.
She said: “They’ve smashed the back window in and ripped open all the donation bags and gone through them.
“We don’t really know for sure what they’ve taken because we hadn’t had a chance to go through everything yet but they’ve left the place a mess and they’ve opened the till as well.”
Karen said the robbery is “disgusting” and will have an impact on those who use the hospice, in Wells Avenue, Hartlepool.
The centre offers palliative care to people with life-limiting illnesses.
Karen added: “It’s absolutely disgusting. Everyone is working really hard to raise funds for patients and it’s disgraceful that someone could just come in and take things that people have donated.
“They’re stealing from patients that need help at the hospice. We’re trying to raise vital funds and it’s disgusting that someone would break in and take that away.
“The sad thing is we don’t even know what they’ve taken or how much because we hadn’t had a chance to go through it yet.”
A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “The break in has been reported. It appears to have happened over the weekend and we are making inquiries to find out what happened.”