Charity chiefs have vowed to defy burglars who stole a safe containing cash from their South Tyneside store in an attack described as “utterly deplorable” by police.
YMCA bosses have expressed their sadness at a break-in which netted raiders £400 in takings from their shop in Ocean Road, South Shields.
To make their getaway, they made off with the entire safe, sometime between 5pm last Wednesday and 8.50am on Thursday.
They are thought to have forced their way through the premises’ back door, an attack discovered by staff when they arrived for work.
Northumbria Police confirmed it was investigating – and appealed for help in catching the culprits.
Pc Chris Howey said: “For individuals to steal money from a charity that looks after some of the most vulnerable people in our society is utterly deplorable.
“Charities like this rely on plenty of goodwill from supporters and donations from the community, so this incident has caused inevitable distress and anguish.
“Enquiries are ongoing to locate those responsible and I would urge anybody who thinks they have any information regarding this burglary to get in touch with police.
“You may think it’s a small and irrelevant piece of information, but it could prove the key to bringing those responsible to justice.”
Employees reopened the shop hours after the 999 alarm was raised, and say they have been well supported by well-wishers.
A spokesman for the YMCA said: “We are disappointed about the incident which took place last week.
“However, YMCA is always here to serve our local community and the shop was reopened later that afternoon.
“We would like to thank everyone in South Shields who has come back into the shop since it happened and been so supportive to our staff.
“We would also like to pass on our sincere thanks to the local police for their help, kindness and swift response.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference 213 240119 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.