Charity workers have told of their devastation at a break-in that has dealt them a ‘kick in the teeth’.
CCTV captured at Jacob’s Well, in Toronto Place, Gosport, shows a brick hurled through a window coming crashing into the charity’s offices.
Moments later a brazen burglar snatches a charity box, rips the till from its place and three steals second-hand laptops, used by the charity for recording details of who is using storage units made available for people who have been made homeless.
Shards of glass were left strewn across the office, forcing the family-run organisation to clear up.
Police are investigating the burglary which happened Thursday night into Friday morning, and the arson of two vans outside Toronto Place Tyres.
Charity bosses fear the arson could be linked, with the fire lit as a means of blocking access to the rest of the street.
It’s just like a kick in the teeth to usLorraine Pottinger
Lorraine Pottinger, 47, has been clearing the office with her dad and chief executive Stuart, 70, who co-founded the centre with his wife Angela 26 years ago.
They fear someone who came to the centre for help may have broken in as it appeared the thief knew were to go.
Lorraine said: ‘We are very much a family charity – we don’t get funding from anyone.
‘It’s just like a kick in the teeth to us. But we will be back from it.’
CCTV footage reveals an accomplice waiting outside who is passed the stolen laptops.
The charity has been left with needing to replace the laptops and fix a tea machine damaged when the thieves tried to get coins out of it.
Lorraine added: ‘Why cause that carnage?
‘If they had turned up and said “we don’t have anything” then we’ve got electric for people, gas for people, we’ve paid people’s rents and we’ve got clothes for people.
‘They could have come to us and we’d have 100 per cent helped without any questions.
‘That’s what hurts, why turn up and cause so much damage and carnage? It’s unnecessary.’
She added: ‘It’s not the monetary value. It’s just: why would you do that?’
Jacob’s Well hands out food to families in need on a daily basis, helps people back into work and offers workshop projects.
The charity, which remains open after a clear up, also has a furniture showroom, which funds its charitable work through sales.
It helps social services kit out homes with furniture for those in desperate need.
Stuart added: ‘We won’t stop helping people – we never have done.
‘We’ve been doing it for 26 years but it destroys your faith in people.’
Hampshire police confirmed officers are investigating.
A police spokeswoman said: ‘The offender(s) have forced entry to the site.
‘Once inside they searched the premises and stole cash and three laptops.
‘Anyone with information should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting 44180212814.’
She said the fire was reported at 2.30am.
Anyone with information about the vans blaze should call 101 quoting 44180212905.