One of the borough’s biggest charities has suffered a devastating blow after its new shop was targeted by burglars.
Wigan and Leigh Hospice’s new store in Standish had been open for just a fortnight when offenders broke in and ransacked it.
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The front door of the Market Street building was forced with a screwdriver, and around £150 of goods were stolen overnight between Tuesday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 3.
The crime was discovered by Judith Hulley, who on her first day as a volunteer arrived at 8.45am on Wednesday.
Retail co-ordinator Jen Naylor described the chaotic scene in the aftermath of the burglary.
She said: “They had pulled things out of cupboards, emptied bags and boxes, forced lockers open and pulled everything out from around the till and under the counter.
“They’ve taken Christmas gift sets which the volunteers had been keeping for a raffle, some digital cameras and some jewellery. We don’t keep our takings on the premises.
“We are devastated after all the work that has been put in.
“It’s heartless to steal from a charity.”
Volunteers and staff put in a massive effort to turn the former bank into a shop for the hospice before the grand opening on September 19. The raid, which has been to reported to police, caused around £600 of damage to the door.
The store was forced to close for two days after the break-in, but re-opened yesterday.
Anyone with information should ring police on 101 or call independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.