Donations made to a volunteer-led group helping struggling families in South Tyneside have been destroyed in a vandal attack.
Founder of Hebburn Helps, Jo Durkin says she has been left “gobsmacked” after finding a shed storing a range of sanitary products belonging to Hebburn Helps was broken into.
Its contents had been strewn along the road and on gates. Two DVD players which had also been donated and put in the shed were found smashed.
Hebburn Helps has been collecting sanitary products since January after its founders were inspired to launch a wellbeing Wednesday drop-in for women.
Mrs Durkin along with Angie Comerford had been moved by a scene in film I, Daniel Blake - based on a widower’s battle with the welfare system after a heart attack - featuring a woman forced into stealing sanitary products due to lack of money.
The idea received a lot of support with a number of women accessing the service.
I’m just gobsmacked that someone would do this.Jo Durkin
But now after the vandal attack, which happened over the weekend, the pair say they now have to start from scratch.
CCTV in the area is also being looked at to try and identify the person or people responsible.
Mrs Durkin said: “I can’t believe it. There was nothing in the shed for anyone to steal. It’s just been vandalism.
“People know what we do. The things we have, go to help those in the community who are struggling.
“They took all the sanitary protection we have been collecting for women who need it and also smashed two DVD players we had in there.
“Everything we have, has been donated thanks to people’s kindness - I’m just gobsmacked that someone would do this.”
The foodbank, based at South Tyneside Children’s Centre, in Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, provides items to families in need and is run by volunteers.
The group relies heavily on donations from the public and businesses to survive.
Mrs Durkin said: “If anyone has any information on who has done this, please contact police.
“This isn’t a joke what they have done, there are families who desperately rely on what we do and the donations made by the public.”
Hebburn Helps is open Monday to Friday 10am until 4pm for people and for donations to be dropped off.