Heartless thieves target charity shops

A WOMBWELL charity shop is among four to have been targeted by callous burglars.

Raiders ransacked a Stairfoot shop for Barnsley Hospice, only weeks after smashing their way in to shops at Wombwell, Blucher Street at Barnsley, and Penistone.

In the latest break-in on Friday, entry was gained by the removal of roof tiles. A small amount of cash, two satnavs, an electrical saw and electrical testing equipment were stolen.

The burglary at the specialist furniture shop also caused about £1,000 worth of damage.

In October thieves smashed their way into the hospice shop at Blucher Street, causing £800 of damage. Two days previously it had been awarded first prize in the Barnsley Civic Trust’s Shop Awards.

And about £500 was taken from the shop at Wombwell.

Dawn Charlesworth, retail services manager for the hospice, said: “Altogether the cost of these break-ins is nearly £6,000. We are insured, but we still lose money because we have to close the shop and clear up.

“It’s also extremely demoralising for our volunteers. They put so much effort into helping raise money for the hospice and then someone comes along and does this.”

Barnsley Hospice receives £1.6m from the NHS each year, but has to raise an additional £1.9m to stay open. It has nine retail shops, including the two furniture stores, which raise about £900,000 a year.

“It is a particularly difficult time at the moment, because like all charity shops we have seen a fall in donations because of the recession. But we can’t let these break-ins deter us,” said Dawn, who said that security of the shops was regularly reviewed.

“The money the shops raise is vital to the hospice and we need people to keep donating goods.”