The Norfolk Hospice may be forced to divert thousands of pounds from patient care to increase security in its shops after a raid.
Callous thieves took an estimated £1,000 worth of equipment and cash after breaking into the hospice’s charity shop in Lynn Road, Snettisham, on Thursday last week.
The hospice relies on fundraising to provide services to help palliative care patients in West Norfolk but may be forced to spend thousands beefing up security at its nine charity shops.
The theft is more than a week’s equivalent of providing nursing care for a terminally ill patient at home or three days’ worth of day service treatment at the
hospice. The hospice helps 250 patients, carers and relatives each month.
Commercial director Mark Shea said the money to improve security would otherwise be spent on patient care.
He said: “It is a despicable act for anyone to break in and steal but if they did just stop to think about the impact on the service they would think twice.
“We service a population of 300,000 people in North West Norfolk and this is a service which is desperately needed. We are providing a service the NHS doesn’t provide. Everyone seems to get touched by it.
“We get less than 10 per cent of our running costs from the Government and 40 per cent comes from charity shops.”
Thieves forced their way through a reinforced door on Thursday night before snatching a couple of laptops along with £150 in cash.
The theft was discovered on Friday morning by deputy manager Jo Martinez.
Mr Shea said: “The police have said there was nothing more we could have done. The door was reinforced with bars and reinforced glass.
“The theft caused huge disruption at the shop, particularly as it means we can’t gift aid any donations.”
The Snettisham shop specialises in furniture, which is donated by supporters.
A police spokesperson said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed this break-in which caused mindless damage and lose to a local charity.
“Burglary is an intrusive crime which causes damage to property and great distress to those effected.
“We would encourage anyone with information regarding this break-in or the items stolen to contact us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on the 101 number or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.