Thieves have been condemned for targeting a children’s charity shop in Coleraine TWICE in the past couple of months.
The heartless criminals broke into the Barnado’s store at Castlerock Road with crowbars over the August Bank Holiday weekend and made off with the safe.
And, on Sunday, October 3 thieves broke in again and burst open the safe which had been bolted in place following the first break-in.
Staff at the children’s shop have been stunned by the burglaries which saw the culprits make off with hundreds of pounds of weekend takings.
“We’re shocked, disgusted and horrified,” said shop manager Colleen Loughrey, who works with 15 volunteers a week.
“They are stealing money to help children in their own community, so they are really stealing money from themselves.
“The last time they wrecked the store and broke our phone as well.It’s horrible, you just don’t expect people to steal from a charity.
“We still want the public to support as much as possible by leaving in donations, buying from the shop and also if anyone wants to volunteer.”
On the first occasion thieves also broke into Barnardo’s other shop at Stone Row.
A Barnardo’s spokesperson added: “It is very upsetting for the staff and volunteers who put in long hours running the shop and take a pride in what they are doing.
“The money raised in our shops goes directly to our work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children in NI. We depend on the money to help fund our work with children and families – and all the profit from the local shops goes directly to work in NI.
“In the Coleraine area we offer a counselling service for young people in special schools, we run a family support service for young people which includes volunteer mentors, we offer counselling for children who have been bereaved, we offer support to young people who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and we also offer support to young carers.”
Barnardo’s have now reviewed their security measures and money is not being stored on the premises overnight.