Thieves target women’s refuge HQ

CALLOUS thieves stole two mobile phones after breaking into a building used to support victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The thieves entered the building, used by Harbour Support Services, in Whitburn Street, Hartlepool, on Thursday, while vulnerable women were just yards away in a support group in the building’s training room.

They got away with mobile phones used by the service to stay in contact with domestic and sexual abuse victims, and staff say if the thieves weren’t distracted they could have taken a lot more.

The building is a day centre and not one used as an overnight refuge for vulnerable women.

Police are now appealing for anyone who may have any information to contact them.

Lesley Gibson, director of Harbour, said: “I don’t think the people who do something like this realise the upset they cause.

“It’s very scary to think people were in our building. What kind of people do something like this?”

“We were running a group in the training room and one of the members of staff went to put the kettle on, and when she looked the door had been kicked in. They got away with two mobile phones.

“One of the mobile phones is used as our text service for people to contact us and another is used by our outreach worker to ensure safety when working alone.

“We now have to replace the two phones and pay out for the damage to the door.”

The stolen phones were a Nokia and a Vodafone 340.

Anyone with any information should contact Detective Sergeant Stuart Robinson, of Hartlepool CID, on (01642) 302110.