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WATCH: 'Sickening' burglars trash three Telford charity shops in one night

By Rory Smith | Telford | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Burglars targeted three Telford charity shops in one night - meaning five raids have taken place in the less than three weeks.

Julie Evans from ExtraCare and some of the damage inside the shop

The raiders smashed their way into the British Red Cross charity shop in Limes Walk, the ExtraCare charity shop in Market Street and the nearby Community Helpp charity shop, all in Oakengates sometime overnight on Thursday.

Computers, collection boxes and hundreds of pounds were stolen in the raids, while all three shops were "completely turned upside down" by the thieves, who left clothes, toys, boxes and open food containers littered across the shop and backroom floors.

WATCH: Staff left fuming after shop raids

Charity shops ransacked by thieves in Telford

t is the third time in three months the Red Cross shop has been burgled and the second time in less than three weeks that Community Helpp has been broken into.

Hillbrae Rescue Kennel charity shop, opposite Community Helpp, was also broken into less than three weeks ago and ExtraCare now joins the list.

Julia Evans outside ExtraCare in Market Street
A broken window at ExtraCare

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'Sickening'

Julia Evans, manager of ExtraCare, said she thought the intruders may have still been in the upstairs of the shop when she arrived Friday morning.

"This kind of thing makes you not want to come into work. It makes you not want to be in Oakengates," she said.

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"I came in at 8am and I noticed the door to the upstairs was open. I was really frightened because I saw the mess but there were no other doors open to I was scared they were still upstairs.

"They've taken our laptop and ripped the safe off the wall – it's sickening.

"You work so hard and for people to be able to get away with doing this, it's truly devastating."

Trashed

A minute around the corner, the Red Cross shop and Community Helpp were also ransacked.

Jane Edwards, 54, manager of the Red Cross shop, said: "They've absolutely trashed the place. They've smashed the upstairs window and completely turned the place upside down.

Jane Edwards outside the Red Cross shop she manages
Ms Edwards said the thieves 'absolutely trashed the place'

"This is our third break-in in three months. We don't open on a Sunday but now I have to come in just to make sure we haven't been broken into again.

"We don't keep any money overnight here since the first break-in so I'm not sure if anything's been taken this time but they've pulled out our safe anyway.

"I'm lost for words. These shops play such a huge part in our community. People rely on them to buy clothes and older people come in just for a chat and they would be lost without us.

"We work so hard and there will be so many people affected by this. I've worked since I was 15 years old and I've never experienced anything like this before.

"We will move forward and get through this but it's worrying to think whether they'll be back again."

'Not again'

Forensic teams from West Mercia Police attended all three shops today before volunteers could start the clear up.

Pauline Jackson, founder of Community Helpp, said: "My first thought was just, 'not again'.

Pauline Jackson, founder of Community Helpp, outside the shop
Pauline Jackson inside the ransacked Community Helpp shop

"Taking from a charity shop is generally considered the lowest of the low. These people must be in a low place and need help to be honest.

"They don't realise the affect it has on all the hardworking staff and volunteers. You get a blow like this and it's disheartening for everyone.

"Where we did feel safe and secure we now feel vulnerable. It's just disappointing because people put their time and effort into wanting to help others, so when this happens it can really knock you back."

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting incident number 0135S160819.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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