Anger as ‘disgraceful’ burglars ransack charity café in Lowestoft
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Volunteers and staff at a charity café have hit out at heartless thieves who broke in and left a 'trail of carnage' behind.
Sams Coffee House and Enterprise Lounge, run by Access Community Trust, was forced to close for the day on Wednesday after being 'ransacked' by burglars, who are said to have stolen an electronic tablet, laptop, money, food and tools.
The café opened last month in the former Sam Hook sports shop in Bevan Street East as a project to help young people obtain the skills and qualifications they need for work.
Coffee house manager David Wink was the first to arrive on Wednesday morning – and he was faced with a 'trail of carnage'.
He said: 'We have been open just over a month and to target a charity, it's quite hurtful. When I arrived I saw the back door had been smashed and a trail of carnage had been left, starting behind the counter downstairs.
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'We have had to cancel a networking meeting and it has affected the business as well as we have had to close for the day – so there is a loss of takings, along with the repairs needed and all the items that will need replacing after they ransacked upstairs.'
The café re-opened yesterday (Thursday) after a clean-up operation.
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Volunteer chef Chris Cramphorn said: 'We are a charity – it's disgusting to steal from a charity.
'We found it in this state, with the window smashed and glass strewn across the floor. They ransacked upstairs with laptops, tablets, money, food and tools stolen.'
He added: 'We were just getting off the ground, getting established in the community and now this has happened – it has hit us hard. It is sheer deceitfulness.
'We have a facility for the apprentices upstairs, a youth enterprise lounge that helps the youngsters with their work. We are here to help, and have been helping others – now they will be affected as well. It's pretty disgraceful.'
Volunteers said filing cabinets and drawers were tipped out in the rooms upstairs, as stationery, paperwork and tools were left strewn on the floor.
A police spokesman said: 'Entry was forced into the business and an untidy search of the café on the ground floor and offices in the upper two floors was carried out. Apart from the laptop and electronic notebook, it is unclear at this stage what has been taken.'
? Information should be directed to Lowestoft police on 101.