SCRAP metal thieves have targeted the Salvation Army in Portsmouth.
The crooks targeted lead on the roofs of two buildings – the citadel building in Lake Road and the charity’s nearby furniture store in Commercial Road.
But, in the hard-working spirit of the charity, volunteers were not going to let mindless criminals ruin their festivities.
Volunteers rallied round to put on a superb Christmas dinner for the homeless.
But George Brown, director of the Outreach programme for the Salvation Army, said the thieves had caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
He said: ‘The buildings have had a whole load of lead taken over the last few days.
‘Water is coming in.
‘The thieves climbed along the roof and they have ripped up tiles as they went a long.
‘They went to huge effort to get to it.
‘With what we are trying to do and what we are trying to achieve, it’s very disappointing.
‘That somebody could just come and make such a mess for such a small gain, I find it such a shame.’
The furniture shop was supposed to be open today, but had to shut due to water damage to the till area.
Volunteers have been able to patch up some of the roof, but are still waiting for a quote for the repairs.
Meanwhile, the charity laid on its first dinner for homeless people.
It came a record amount of food and clothes donations this year from the people of Portsmouth.
Mr Brown added: ‘We have never done it before.
‘Our chef, Vincent Mitchell, is a remarkable gentleman.
‘He wanted to help the homeless.
‘We are here to provide as much help as we can to the local community.’
Anyone with information on the lead thefts should call police on 101.