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Arson 'devastating' blow for charity as winter and Christmas stock destroyed

PUBLISHED: 15:19 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 19 September 2019

The Break charity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon, could be closed for months following a fire which the police are treating as arson. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The Break charity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon, could be closed for months following a fire which the police are treating as arson. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant 2019

Heartbroken staff and volunteers at a fire-hit charity shop have been left counting the cost after an arson attack destroyed all of their winter and Christmas stock.

Volunteers at the Break chaity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon. Picture: Neil DidsburyVolunteers at the Break chaity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon. Picture: Neil Didsbury

But the Break charity has urged people to make donations at its other branches, so it does not miss out on crucial money needed to help vulnerable children and young people.

Police are investigating the arson at the Break charity shop in Cromer Road, Hellesdon, which happened at about 1.40am on Wednesday (September 18).

Witnesses told police the blaze had started at the back of the shop before spreading to Break's building. Firefighters put out the blaze - but it has been a hammer blow for the charity.

Yesterday, staff and volunteers at Break, which runs children's homes, provides foster carers, supports and mentors children leaving care and provides short breaks for children and young people with disabilities, were at the shop to see the scale of the damage.

The Break charity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon, could be closed for months following a fire which the police are treating as arson. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe Break charity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon, could be closed for months following a fire which the police are treating as arson. Picture: Neil Didsbury

It was a sorry sight, with bags of clothes stored in containers at the back of the shop, which could have been sold to raise thousands of pounds for the charity, damaged or destroyed.

The shop is likely to remain closed for some time and charity bosses appealed for donations at other branches.

Tracey McManus, marketing and communications manager for Break, said: "It is devastating to see all of the winter and Christmas stock damaged by the fire and smoke.

"The team works so hard to carefully sort and prepare the donations into seasonal stock.

The Break charity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon, could be closed for months following a fire which the police are treating as arson. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe Break charity shop, on Cromer Road in Hellesdon, could be closed for months following a fire which the police are treating as arson. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"While we work to get the store back up and running, we would like to welcome shoppers into our nearby shops in Taverham, North Walsham Road and Drayton Road.

"As always we appreciate your kind donations and would like to encourage supporters to make any donations of stock to our surrounding stores - this will help us to get the Hellesdon shop re-stocked when we are ready to reopen."

Break also has Norwich shops in Colman Road, Unthank Road, Queens Road and Dereham Road.

- Police are treating the fire, along with another at a nearby Cromer Road home shortly afterwards, as arson.

Tracey McManus, marketing and communications manager for Break. Picture: Neil DidsburyTracey McManus, marketing and communications manager for Break. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident reference numbers 19 and 27 of September 18. People can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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