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Charity left devastated after thieves break into their shop

Local charity Age UK Lancashire have been left devastated after their new furniture shop in Lancaster was broken into over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Thieves broke in through a window and ransacked the shop, damaging donated stock, stealing cash and computer equipment, leaving the charity facing a huge bill to mend the damage and losing out on valuable trading time while the shop is put back together.

Chief Executive of Age UK Lancashire, Teri Stephenson, said: “We are heartbroken by this mindless act and the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to get the new shop up and running are particularly devastated. We really can’t understand why anyone would target a charity shop in this way and are working closely with the police and other local businesses to try and find the people responsible”.

The charity shop, located on the Kingsway Retail Park in Lancaster, only opened in April this year and provides a crucial income stream for the charity, who deliver services and support for the most vulnerable older people in Lancashire. The shop specialises in selling preloved furniture and household items and had got off to a really positive start since opening.

Teri Stephenson added: “In what has been an exhausting and challenging 14 months for us, providing vital support to people during the coronavirus pandemic, we were looking forward to a more positive future after the terrible impact the closure of our charity shops during 3 national lockdowns has had on our income, but this has hit us hard and we now have to try and overcome this huge blow”.

“The damage caused to the shop includes a broken window, internal wall damage, the safe damaged beyond repair, till damage and loss of valuable donations. We’re keen to get this shop back up and running as soon as possible, so if people are able to help us in any way, including donating stock, please do get in touch.”

“We would like to thank Morecambe Bay Glass who came out on Bank Holiday to board up the window for the cost of materials. We now need additional security measures to protect us for the future, if any businesses are able to help us”.

Age UK Lancashire relies on generating their own income from their shops, fundraising and public donations and since the start of the pandemic has helped more than 14,000 older people and families through emergency shopping, regular phone calls, ongoing support after hospital stays and periods of illness, plus supporting people living with dementia.

If you are able to help the charity please contact them on 0300 303 1234 or email admin@ageuklancs.org.uk

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