Hartlepool charity shop staff devastated after burglary
A Hartlepool charity shop has been left counting the cost after a break-in.
The Epilepsy Outlook store in York Road was broken into overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Luckily, nothing of any value was stolen but the thieves removed an entire wired security window to get inside a store room.
They moved barbed wire and scaled a high gate to get in to the shop’s back yard.
Operations manager Jacqui Gettings said staff members, who are all volunteers, have been left demoralised by the burglary.
Jacqui said: “It’s the mess and how much it’s going to cost because now we have to replace that window.
“They have taken the frame completely off.
“It is having to pay out what the charity shop has made and our volunteers have raised.
“It is taking money away from what we do.”
Fortunately, the burglar was prevented from going further into the charity shop and they could not get through a locked door.
Staff discovered the break in when they opened up on Wednesday morning and it has been reported to the police.
Jacqui added: “Something like this demoralises people. We have about 70 volunteers and all the work they do helps us to raise money, helps raise awareness and buy things like bed alarms for people with epilepsy.
“For anybody who gives their precious time to help raise money it is bound to feel like a personal attack on them.”
Jacqui said the shop has had trespassers get into the yard before on several occasions, but this is the first time anyone has got inside.
“We have had people get over the fence and move bags and will have a look,” she said.
“This has just come out of the blue. It is very sad for everybody.”
Jacqui says she has campaigned to get alley gates installed to make the area behind the shops more secure.
Epilepsy Outlook recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in Hartlepool.
It also has shops in Park Road and Oxford Road and holds weekly art and craft sessions attended by more than 70 people a week.
Cleveland Police confirmed the break in has been reported to them and have attended the shop to carry out inquiries.
Anyone with information as to who committed the burglary is asked to contact them on the non-emergency number 101 or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.