We've been overwhelmed by your support after our shop in Cromwell Road, Grimsby, was targeted by thieves.

A Grimsby charity shop has been overwhelmed by the public’s support after thieves caused £500 worth of damage to steal £40 worth of goods.

The culprits smashed the window of the St Andrew’s Hospice shop, in Cromwell Road, overnight on Saturday, February 11, making off with a TV and stereo.

Within hours of hearing about the incident in the Grimsby Telegraph and on social media, the public rallied around to help the charity, donating money and bags-full of items, and condemning the thieves’ actions as “disgusting”.

So far, £465 has been donated and shop manager Jane Poole said the hospice is “overwhelmed” by the response.

She said: “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, and we are so grateful to the community, which has shown its mettle and rallied round at what’s been an upsetting time.

“I arrived at the shop on Sunday expecting a smashed window, but it soon became obvious that the window had been repeatedly battered so the culprits could get at a television. There was a massive boulder inside the window and another outside, the sort from a garden rockery, so this was a deliberate act and they had clearly planned it and thought it out.

“The television was a small one, which we were selling for £35, and they also stole a small stereo priced at £5, so they caused about £500 worth of damage for goods valued at very little – although to us, that £40 the items would have made is a lot of money.

“While we were sorting out the mess, a man who had been shopping at the supermarket opposite came over because he’d seen the damage. He was very affected by it, and couldn’t understand how a charity at the heart of the community could be targeted like that. He gave a £100 donation anonymously there and then, which gave us a real boost. He was visibly upset, and that meant a lot.”

Thanks to teamwork, the shop was up and running, and open to customers by 9.45am on Monday.

Jane said: “We hadn’t realised exactly how bad the damage was until then. We had to dispose of some stock because of shattered glass, which is heart-breaking because our stock is all donated, of course.”

On Monday alone, £340 was donated at the shop and £100 at the hospice by generous members of the public heard about the incident, and the shop took in more than 30 more bags of donated items than usual. An online donation page currently stands at £25, and Middletons Glass, in Grimsby, gave their time for free to board up the broken window and replace it.

“The shop genuinely is at the heart of the community here,” said Jane. “It’s a meeting place for many, as well as the chance to contribute to a local charity and make a difference. We look after customers, and that means they have looked after us in return, and we couldn’t be more grateful. They have been absolutely awesome.

“I’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has rallied round to support us – people for their wonderful donations, hospice staff and volunteers who have donated their time to help get the shop back on track, and our loyal customers.

“It’s wonderful, it really is. As one person came in to donate, another would come in a few minutes later. It’s so amazing that the community has reacted like this, and turned something bad into a positive. I’m still really hurt by what’s happened – we are a local charity, after all. But the response has been amazing.”

The shop has about 30 volunteers; the youngest is 18 and the oldest is 84. Jane said her team is “excellent” and the shop does so well because of their dedication. Jane herself first worked as a volunteer at the store, becoming manager 12 years ago. Money raised there goes towards the £4.1-million annual running costs of the hospice, in Peaks Lane, Grimsby, which provides free care for adults and children with life-limiting illnesses.

Meanwhile, police have asked the public to remain vigilant about the stolen items, and to report if they are offered them for sale. They are a white portable TV and a stereo unit. Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting log number 2249258.

The Cromwell Road shop is closing at 4.30pm on Saturday until Monday, February 27 for a refresh, during which it will receive a new coat of paint and new flooring.

If you’d like to donate, visit hwww.standrewshospice.com/donate or call 01472 350908. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, visit www.standrewshospice.com/volunteering or call the number as above.

Pictured top in the shop are (L-R) volunteers Joyce Woodhouse, Pam Walker and Norma Atkinson with manager Jane Poole with toys donated following the break-in.

 

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