'Heartless' thieves take £6,500 in charity store raids

Goods were stolen from the EACH store in Thetford

Goods were stolen from the EACH store in Thetford - Credit: EACH

Laptops, tablet computers and cash were stolen after thieves broke into two charity stores in Thetford and Hadleigh in a week.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice (EACH) has revealed it was left £6,500 out of pocket following the raids at its stores in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The first incident happened Lime Kiln Lane in Thetford on December 5, when thieves smashed the shop window and ripped its safe off the wall — as well as stealing cash, high-value items and goods from the shop floor.

A second raid happened at the High Street store in Hadleigh on Sunday, but EACH does not believe any goods of value were taken.

EACH, which supports families and provides care for children and young people across the region, has estimated the overall cost of the break-ins at more than £6,500.

This includes around £3,000-worth of stolen high-value goods, as well as £540 in cash.

A separate raid happened at the EACH store in Hadleigh on Sunday

A separate raid happened at the EACH store in Hadleigh on Sunday - Credit: EACH

Both shops lost further income as they closed to repair the damages.

EACH, which described the raids as "heartless", has set up an online fundraiser in a bid to recover the losses.

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Ian Nicolson, EACH director of retail and trading, described the break-ins as a "real hammer-blow".

He added: "We’re working closely with the police and helping them with their enquiries.

"A number of high-value items were taken at Thetford, in the process causing a considerable amount of damage, and then we had the break-in at Hadleigh.

"It’s shocking and saddening, given that we rely so heavily on profits from our shops.

"This year alone, we need to raise £5.4million in retail income so for this to happen is a real hammer-blow, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.

"We have insurance for the cash lost and to cover the damage caused. However, unfortunately, business insurance doesn’t cover second-hand goods.

"We can’t risk this happening again so instantly had an alarm fitted. It came at considerable expense, though, so we’re appealing for support and hoping people or a business get behind us.

"Anyone willing to put their hands in their pockets would be doing an incredibly kind thing. Every little helps and we’d also love to hear from any businesses, donors or trusts that might be interested in helping us recover our losses."