CHARITY shop volunteers have been left reeling after thieves took hundreds of pounds and designer handbags from their store.
The people who help out at the Overgate Hospice charity shop on Town Hall Street in Sowerby Bridge were devastated when they discovered the safe had been smashed in and valuable stock taken.
Appeals manager at Overgate Hospice Laura Golding said: “The shop has only been open six months but it has been getting busier.
“It’s a kick in the stomach.
“We know everyone is struggling and these are desperate times. We do get the odd charity box stolen and that’s shocking enough but this is quite disappointing.
Because there were no signs of forced entry, the volunteers say the culprits could have been hiding in the shop until they left.
When they got there after the theft, the shop was still locked up and the gate was shut with a padlock still on. Once inside, there is a way of getting out without a key.
The thieves had kicked the safe to bits and taken the £700 that was inside - three days worth of takings.
They also stole three or four designer handbags that the shop would have expected to sell for between £40 and £50 each.
Shop manager Gillian Greenwood said: “It took a lot of hard work to raise that money. We’re devastated.”
Volunteers have created a thermometer to show the amount that was taken and hope to encourage people to each donate £1 to help them replace the cash that has been lost.
Anyone with information about the break-in, which is thought to have happened between Saturday night and Monday morning, should call police via 101.
Information can also be passed on anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.