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Heartless vandal wreaks havoc in charity shop

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Heartless vandal wreaks havoc in charity shop thumbnailDamage caused to one of the doors in the break-in at the CHILD charity shop in Strabane.

VOLUNTEERS at the local charity shop, Community Help in the Local District (CHILD), have been left devastated after a heartless vandal broke into their premises on Railway Street in Strabane causing a trail of destruction.

It was reported that sometime between the hours of 4pm on Friday and 9am on Monday, entry was gained to the charity shop.

The perpetrator forced open the shutters to the shop and forced their way into the office by kicking through two doors. Filing cabinets, a locker and drawers in the office were also forced open but thankfully nothing was taken.

The staff of the vital organisation re-opened yesterday (Tuesday) morning but have been left counting the cost of the damage that has been caused.

Rosemary French, co-ordinator of CHILD, expressed her frustration at the attack on a charity that has helped many local people over the years.

"We are absolutely disgusted that someone thought it okay to ransack a charity shop that helps so many in the local community," Rosemary said.

"Just to make people aware, our premises are fully covered by CCTV and there is never any cash kept on the premises, it is banked at all times.

"So to the scum that broke in, you wasted your energy kicking in our doors and the police are on the case.

"It's disgusting to think that someone could attack a charity shop because we have helped so many youths through the AYE group and we would work closely with them and it's disgusting to think that it could have been someone that we have helped in the past or maybe we helped one of their family.

"We are back doing what we do best, helping those in our community that are in need. Many thanks to the committee and volunteers of CHILD."

Condemning the attack, DUP councillor Alderman Allan Bresland, described the incident as 'disgusting'.

"I don't know the type of mind a person would have to break into a charity shop, I don't know what way they think. It's just too bad that someone has broken in because charity shops are always helping someone and someone is always benefitting from them. It's disgusting that this has happened.

"I would call on anyone who may have any information to contact the PSNI," he said.

Branding the incident as a 'senseless attack', local independent councillor, Patsy Kelly, called on anyone with information to come forward.

"This is an organisation that helps people in the community. I would condemn this action and those who find the time to go and vandalise something that provides a service in the town. It will take money to fix the damage and charities wouldn't have the money to do that, so it's a senseless act.

"If anyone has any information, get in contact with the PSNI," said Mr Kelly.

Meanwhile, West Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA and Westminster candidate, Barry McElduff, who was in Strabane area yesterday (Tuesday), paid a visit to the charity shop to offer his support to the staff and volunteers.

He said: "The community of Strabane are outraged by this attack on CHILD and are standing in solidarity with the staff and volunteers who devote so much of their time for others.

“This is a despicable act. I have visited the shop and have offered my support to those affected. It is heartening to see the staff and volunteers standing strong given what they have experienced. Anyone with any information should come forward. To ransack a charity shop is the lowest of the low."

If you have any information about the incident, contact police in Strabane on 101 quoting reference number 245 of 22/05/17 or Crimestoppers anonymously on: 0800 555 111.

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