“To steal from a charity shop is the lowest of the low” - volunteers’ anger at Lowestoft store break-ins

Staff at the Barnardo's charity shop in Lowestoft, which was burgled

Staff at the Barnardo's charity shop in Lowestoft, which was burgled - Credit: Archant

Volunteers have expressed their frustration as two charity shops on the high street were burgled - which has left one with a repair bill running into hundreds of pounds.

Staff at Barnardo's and the British Heart Foundation on London Road North, Lowestoft opened their stores yesterday to find they had been broken into overnight.

The Barnardo's store was ransacked, but nothing was stolen, while £100 cash was taken from the British Heart Foundation, and its safe was broken.

And in both shops, the burglars caused damage to the buildings which the charities will have to find the money to repair.

Barnardo's sales assistant Marie Fellingham opened the shop at 8am yesterday to find stock on the floor, cupboards opened and a hole in the ceiling.

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'It makes me very angry that people are giving up their time to raise money for vulnerable children and someone can come and try and take it away,' she said.

'To steal from a charity shop is the lowest of the low. It's hard to believe.

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'We're raising money for children and they've stolen from a child in my eyes.

'But we're back, open for business and all donations are gladly welcomed, particularly anyone who is able to Gift Aid their donation.'

BHF Area Manager Sonya Pringle echoed Barnardo's plea. She said: 'The break-in has really shaken some of our volunteers and it was a shock for the sales assistant, Jodie, who was the first to see the damage this morning.

'We desperately need support from the local Lowestoft community to keep us running.

'Without their donations, we risk reducing funding for vital research into heart disease and the support we can offer heart patients in Lowestoft.'

She added that the shop would no longer leave cash on the premises overnight and would be installing security equipment.

They are the latest in a string of charity shop burglaries in the town. The Citizen's Advice Bureau was broken into and trashed in January and the Unity Centre on Milton Road East has been broken into twice already this year.

A police spokesman confirmed officers were investigating the two burglaries, but had no further details and could not say if they were linked.

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