Preston charity left counting the cost after break-in

Photo Neil Cross'CEO Melanie Close of Disability Equality in Church Street, Preston,  where thieves even stole the Jelly Babies they were selling to raise money
Photo Neil Cross'CEO Melanie Close of Disability Equality in Church Street, Preston, where thieves even stole the Jelly Babies they were selling to raise money
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Bosses at a charity which supports disabled people have been left “livid” after their building was broken into.

Thieves smashed their way into Disability Equality in Preston’s Church Street, damaging equipment and stealing cash, as well as 12 bags of Jelly Babies.

The already hard-up charity was left counting the cost of the break-in, with volunteers fearing personal information could have been taken.

Melanie Close, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “I’m really disappointed, not to mention livid, that someone has smashed our window and climbed in.

“It’s got to be the lowest of the low, not only are we a charity, we’re a disability charity.

“They didn’t really take anything of value, but they created quite a lot of damage.

“They’ve smashed the window, they’ve stood on the induction loop and then I think smashed it again because I think they thought it was an alarm.

“That will be about £500 and it means we’ve got no interview room for people who are hard of hearing.”

Melanie said thieves had also damaged desk and filing cabinet drawers during the break-in, which happened about 4.30am on December 28.

She said she didn’t tell staff or volunteers what had happened at the time, so as not to disturb their Christmas breaks.

She said: “We are in January, and we are an organisation that helps people with mental health issues.

“I’ve had to speak to every one of our staff and volunteers individually because they are worried their personal details might have gone and I’ve had to reassure them it hasn’t.

“And they are worried and say ‘what if they come back?’

“Being a charity, we haven’t got enough money for this year as it as and constantly we’re fundraising, and now we are going to have to pay the excess on the insurance.

“We sell sweets on reception to raise money and they’ve taken 12 bags of Jelly Babies.

“We have a tin where we sell radar keys and the tin had about £50 or £60 in and they took it.

“That’s nothing to them, but to us it just feels like a kick in the teeth.”

She added: “All of this, and the time taken to rectify the damage and replace the items, has a massive impact on a small charity like ours.

“We are extremely busy supporting local disabled people and raising the funds to do so, this has set us back.”

Police have asked anyone with information to call 101 or, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.