‘MINDLESS cowards’ have ransacked a Stone charity shop as a string of high street businesses were targeted last night.
Liz Reynolds who manages the Cancer Research charity shop on Stone High Street arrived at work this morning to find her ceiling smashed in and offices turned ‘upside down’.
The thieves took jewellery and watches valued at around £200 but Ms Reynolds estimates the cost of repairs to her store will total another several hundred pounds.
She told the Newsletter British Heart Foundation, Age UK and solicitors Crick and Mardling were also targeted.
She said: “We’ve got a broken window and they’ve smashed through the ceiling of the loft area above the store.
“The upstairs area has been ransacked, presumably as they looked for cash and the keys to our safe, which I keep on me.
“The difficulty is that I think they see charity shops as an easy target because we employ volunteers and don’t have the same level of security as a Morrison’s or a Marks and Spencer.”
Ms Reynolds said her store has been hit by the economic downturn and she was struggling to meet her annual target.
However, with the repair costs set to come out of her store budget, she is now completely resigned to missing the target.
She said: “What these people don’t seem to think of is that they’re setting back our work with these mindless acts.
“One in three people are affected by cancer. Perhaps the offenders have been or will be themselves. It really is cowardly.”
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said officers were called to Cancer Research UK on High Street Stone after receiving reports of a break-in just after 8.30am this morning.
“Officers attended the scene where it was established a number of items and an amount of cash had been taken,” she said.
“Just after 9am today we received a report of a burglary at the British Heart Foundation in Stone,” she said. “Officers attended the scene and an amount of costume jewellery is believed to have been taken.
“The offence is believed to have happened between 4.45pm on Thursday 21 February and 8.30am this morning.”
"We received a report of a break-in at Age Concern, High Street, Stone, Just after 9am this morning," she said. "Officers attended the scene where it was established that a number of items including a quantity of cash, costume jewellery and clothing had been taken."
She said officers were also called to Crick and Mardling, also on High Street, Stone just after 8.45am following reports of an attempted break-in.
“Officers are currently investigating the incidents, including whether or not they are linked.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 111 of February 22 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.