CRUEL burglars smashed into a charity shops causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

The vandalism done by the raiders was discovered at the St Helena Hospice shop in Magdalen Street, Colchester, on Friday.

Bosses are not sure what time it happened because the shop is shut due to Government guidelines on social distancing.

But the thieves forced their way in through a locked fire exit door, and through the subsequent internal door.


Head of retail at St Helena Hospice Ian Daniels said all the staff were disappointed to discover what had happened.

He said: “We’re devastated by this heartless crime, not least because of the large bill for the damages to the shop could be better spent on patient care.

“The cost of repairing these damages comes as yet another blow to our funding after having to temporarily shut all shops and postpone fundraising activity due to the current pandemic.”

It comes as hospice bosses have launched an emergency appeal to help them raise cash.

They say the money they do not receive during the next few weeks could have a real impact on caring for people each year.

Some £2million each year comes from fundraising through their shops and other events.

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Anyone with information about the burglary should call Essex Police on 101 quoting reference 42/47006/20.

The hospice has also all but suspended all visitors.

The charity said unless someone’s loved one is in their last days of life, and the senior nurse on duty has agreed otherwise, that people do not visit the hospice.

For those who need to make that visit, the number of visitors around a bed at any one time is limited to one per bed.

“At the moment, we ask that no children under the age of 16 visit the hospice,” a spokesman said.

“We ask you to please not use any of the communal areas and if visiting and you would like food or a beverage, please ask a staff member and they will bring it to you.

“Our staff will be adhering to wearing personal protective equipment for various reasons.

“There may also be situations when visitors are asked to wear personal protective equipment.

“We kindly ask that all visitors respect our staff and the decision to suspend and restrict visiting at this time.”