Biddulph burglars target hospice shop
THIEVES smashed their way into a charity shop through the ceiling – then stole cash and stock worth more than £1,000.
The crooks targeted the Douglas Macmillan Hospice shop in Biddulph, which collects funds for families dealing with terminal illness.
Volunteers at the hospice spent much of yesterday cleaning up the mess, after discovering the theft when they arrived in the morning.
The burglars managed to get through the roof of the empty apartment above the shop, before smashing down through the ceiling to gain access to the charity shop.
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Manager Linda Bould, aged 55, right, said: "It was a shock when I first came in. Nothing like this has happened before.
"They left the place in such a mess. They rooted through everything and broke into the money tins. It's such a shame for the people of Biddulph."
It is not known exactly when the thieves struck as the shop is closed from Saturday evening until Monday morning, but police are now studying CCTV in a bid to find those responsible.
The crooks trawled through cupboards, bin bags and even the fridge before leaving with bags of items donated by the public.
Police and forensics arrived at the shop shortly after Linda reported the crime yesterday.
Karen Boulton, aged 43, from Mow Cop, a customer at the store, said: "It's disgusting. It's absolutely shocking. Lower than low. I come here a lot. It's terrible when they break in anywhere – never mind a charity shop."
The shop is now appealing for more stock and has already had an announcement aired on the radio.
Linda added: "We had people bringing us clothes and other items within a few hours of the broadcast. People of Biddulph have been very generous and I would like to thank them for their kindness."
Yvonne Colclough, head of retail at the hospice, said: "We rely on our shops to provide vital needed funds for the hospice and, without them, many of our care services wouldn't exist.
"The Biddulph shop closure and repairs will have a great impact on us financially, and we appeal for members of the public to donate any unwanted items so that we can re-stock as soon as possible.
"It's a shame that we have started our 40th birthday celebrations this year with a shop break-in but I am hopeful that the public will support us and help us through."
Anyone who wishes to donate unwanted items can drop them into any of the 16 DMH shops which are dotted around the city.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "The offenders forced entry between 4.30pm on Saturday and 8.30am on Monday.
"They caused significant damage and stole a quantity of cash."
Witnesses are asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 83 of February 4. Or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.