STAFF have thanked the public for their support after heartless burglars ransacked a charity shop and bereavement services office last week.
Treetops Hospice’s Sandiacre base suffered hundreds of pounds of damage after locked filing cabinets were ripped open, windows smashed and cash and three laptops were stolen last Tuesday night.
The downstairs shop in Derby Road is a charity shop raising funds for the hospice in neighbouring Risley, which helps hundreds of people at the end of their lives across the region.
But the burglars also raided the bereavement services office above, which has been forced to cancel 20 appointments for people grieving loved ones, including children, while staff clean up the mess.
Penny Lockwood, who runs the service, said: “Tidying it all up, in a practical sense, is a pain, but it’s the emotional upheaval that’s the worst thing.
“This place is like a safe haven for bereaved people, who come here to get help.
“It feels like we’ve been invaded and turned upside down.”
She explained that a lot of the children that visit the service have lost a parent or a sibling. Many of the adults have lost someone very close to them.
The break-in was discovered at 7am on Tuesday when bereavement counsellor Carol Stevenson opened up and saw muddy footprints on the floor.
Police said the burglars had left glass scattered across the reception and filing cabinets containing confidential information about clients had been smashed open with papers left scattered around the floor.
A safe containing a small amount of cash had been ripped from the wall and the till was forced open but no cash was inside.
Penny added: “Certainly there’s been a big reaction in the community – a lot of people are unable to believe that somebody would target a charity.
“But everyone has rallied around and we’ve had lots of offers of help.”
Anyone with information should call Derbyshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.