HEARTLESS thieves stole vital equipment from a Blackpool charity – forcing it to fork out hundreds of pounds in the run-up to Christmas.
The raiders took the washing machine and dryer from Blackpool’s Mencap Respite Centre for people with learning difficulties after scaling a 7ft high garden gate to break into the outhouse.
And it means, not only can staff at the Roseberry Avenue centre in South Shore not wash residents’ clothes, but also vital cash destined to be spent on activities will now have to be used to fund replacements.
Manager Claire Davies said: “We took the three service users we have at the moment to a local social club on Wednesday night and when we came back I went outside to put the washing in and they had gone.
“They were in the outhouse and the thieves must have brought a truck or something. They put a bin at the side of the gate, which is about 7ft high, and climbed over, smashed the padlock to open the gate and stole both machines.”
The centre provides respite care for adults with learning difficulties, to give their families and full-time carers a break for a long weekend or a holiday.
And to make matters worse both machines were full when the thieves struck, meaning the charity has also lost towels and bedding.
The thieves struck between 7pm and 8.40pm on Thursday, and Claire estimates the stolen goods were worth about £700.
She added: “I couldn’t believe it when I went outside.
“They had left the washing powder – it’s laughable.
“People need to be careful if they have equipment like this in their outhouses because none of the neighbours heard a thing.
“This is vital equipment – it’s £700 we are going to have to find and we’ve had to buy all new locks as well.
“It’s just ridiculous.
“That money could have taken our guests somewhere or it could have been used to do something to the house.”
Police are investigating.