‘Sick’ thieves break glass to steal a jar of charity money

Chief officer Joanne Shepherd, right, and project worker Johann Adams
Chief officer Joanne Shepherd, right, and project worker Johann Adams
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Thieves who smashed windows and stole a jar of money at a community centre which helps the elderly have been slammed as ‘sick’.

Intruders battered their way through two sets of windows at Claremont First Step Community Centre, which is a listed building.

Workers at the Claremont First Steps Community Centre in Blackpool have been left dismayed by yet another break-in at the Dickson Road premises.'The stained-glass window destroyed in the attack

Workers at the Claremont First Steps Community Centre in Blackpool have been left dismayed by yet another break-in at the Dickson Road premises.'The stained-glass window destroyed in the attack

“I am just sickened by it and I don’t know how these people can look at themselves in the mirror,” said Joanne Shepherd, chief officer at the centre on Dickson Road in North Shore.

“The people who have done this are biting the hand that feeds them because we are in a completely disadvantaged area, trying to help the people in our community.

“This sets us back massively and really depresses the people working here. All we’re trying to do is help others and do some good.”

The incident happened in the early hours of Friday and it is estimated the damage caused will run into hundreds of pounds.

These people are biting the hand that feeds them

“Because it is a listed building it isn’t just a case of putting any old window in. You have to used specialised contractors and it costs a fortune,” added Joanne, who has worked at the centre for 11 years.

“We’re also upset about the jar of money that was taken because that was to go towards the class we run for the elderly. The whole thing has left us with a real bitter taste in our mouths.”

The community centre – which is open Monday to Friday and used by various community groups, including those with learning difficulties and mental health issues – has been targeted by vandals and thieves before, and was even broken into on Christmas Day.

Coun Ivan Taylor said he is “very sorry” to hear about the break-in and described the incident as “all too common these days”.

He added: “The centre does a great job in the community and every penny they haven’t got is a penny less to help the community they serve.”

“It is very distressing and upsetting for all involved but we just have to get on with it.”

Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the centre can email claremontcentre@aol.com or call 01253 299306.