THIEVES smashed their way into to the New Forest Basics Bank in Lymington, stealing food and leaving what was described as “a terrible mess”.
The charity, based at the United Reformed Church in the High Street, provides emergency food parcels to people in crisis throughout the New Forest.
The break-in was discovered last Friday morning, the intruders having used a brick to smash through the glass panel of the door having got past the passcode-protected security gate.
“The thieves were clearly looking for cash as they set about breaking into the filing cabinet. But the food bank has a policy not to leave cash in the building,” a food bank spokesperson told the A&T.
Basics bank chairman Oliver Stanley said: “We are the last people who expect to get stolen from, we are the charity who helps those with less.
“It really has come as a complete shock, and we are all devastated that this has happened.”
He continued: “The police were alerted, and once we were given permission to enter the premises, with a team effort we managed to clean the place up, clear up the broken glass and still managed to operate our service, sending out 15 food parcels to clients in need.
“New Forest Basics Bank has a strong team spirit, so it was all hands to the pump. We all worked hard to make sure our important service was not interrupted, and thankfully we managed to achieve that.”
Trustee Sue Norris added: “Out of a terrible situation came a very positive encounter when, whilst the cleaning up was taking place, a gentleman called by with a food donation and upon seeing the devastation donated his heating allowance to the food bank since he felt those using the food bank had a greater need.
“It restored faith in the kindness of people in our community in the face of adversity.”
As reported in the A&T, New Forest Basics Bank is currently fundraising for a move to bigger premises to be installed as a pre-fab facility off the High Street, on land owned by New Forest District Council behind Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph’s Church.