THIEVES have gone on the rampage at a Wigan charity shop.
Volunteers at Wigan and Leigh Hospice’s shop in Mesnes Road say dresses were ripped from rails, bags of donated clothes thrown so hard they split open and the contents of shelves strewn across the floor.
The burglars even ripped an entire window from the wall, including frame and bars, to get into to the building.
But after leaving the shop and all its contents wrecked, the thieves took just a small quantity of cash, including £4 from the charity’s lottery fund.
It is the fourth time the shop has been targeted – but according to Stuart Liptrot, hospice chief executive, by far the worst incident.
He said: “This is the worst burglary we have seen because of the sheer mess that has been left and disregard shown for what we do.
“The burglars did not get away with a lot because we don’t keep a significant amount of money on site.
“I can’t understand how people can stoop so low as to rob a hospice shop. We rely on the generosity of local people to help us raise more than £1.5m every year.
“These reprobates have stolen from local people who rely on us providing them with the specialist hospice care they need.”
Ann Hill, who has volunteered at the town centre shop for about 12 months, said: “I collected the keys on Monday morning, opened the shop and locked the door behind me, and that’s when I noticed we had been burgled.
“The till had been raided and everything around it had been thrown on the floor, but they had not touched anything else on that floor.
“Even before I knew what had happened upstairs, I thought how can anybody do this to a charity and then I went upstairs and I just couldn’t believe what I saw.
“It is just sheer vandalism – they had pulled over rails with prom and wedding dresses on, thrown clothes everywhere and split open the bags of donations that we hadn’t even had chance to sort through.
“There was absolutely no need or reason for them to cause such a mess.”
The break-in happened after 3.30pm on Friday when the shop shut and 9.30am on Monday.
It is thought the burglars planned to exit through the back door with stock from the shop, but could not open the roller shutter, which had to be installed after the last incident.
Mr Liptrot added: “How would these scoundrels feel if they, or their family needed us and we couldn’t support them?
“It is going to cost much more to repair, not to mention the distress and upheaval, than the value of goods they have stolen.”
Police are investigating the burglary and have asked for anybody with information to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.