5:30pm Thursday 14th February 2013
By Adam Binnie
Money has been stolen from a charity shop in Watford twice in one week in an "appalling" double burglary.
The Peace Hospice shop, in Lower High Street, was broken into on Friday night, and then again on Monday night.
The shop was broken into last year, and security bars were put up on the windows, but burglars found a new way in and stole hundreds of pounds in cash.
Sue Plummer, chief executive of the Peace Hospice, said: "I think it’s very sad people donate their goods because they want it to go to a good cause and money gets stolen.
"They have targeted the shop, causing damage and distress to the shop and staff. I think it’s because its position on the high street makes it an easy target.
"We have a huge amount of income to generate from the public. We’re a bit more comfortable now, but definitely not comfortably enough.
"Some of the shops are struggling, in line with other charity shops. We need donations, furniture and volunteers, not break ins."
The police are investigating the two burglaries, and have confirmed the burglars got in through a window at the back of the shop, before forcing open a safe inside the building.
The second time, the criminals got in through the roof and ceiling. Inquiries are ongoing and there have been no arrests yet.
DS Ian Siggery, from the Watford local crime unit, said: "We are particularly appalled by these break-ins given that the victim was a charity shop staffed by volunteers.
"The shop doesn’t have large amounts of money on site and on both occasions the offenders have caused a large amount of damage in breaking in. How low can these people go?
"I’d urge anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at these times or who knows anything about what happened to get in touch with police as soon as possible."
The Peace Hospice needs £4 million in charitable income a year to continue to provide free care to patients across South West Herts, with a life limiting illness.
Anyone with information about the burglaries can telephone police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference C1/13/712, or through Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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