HEARTLESS thugs have dealt a hammer blow to a homeless charity after stealing a laptop and a rucksack full of warm clothes meant for the city’s neediest residents.
Crooks smashed the window of a car belonging to a volunteer from Helping Hands Portsmouth while members were out helping those living on the street.
The crime rocked volunteers, who say the clothes were desperately needed to help the homeless survive the freezing weather and snow.
Volunteer Clegg Bamber was on patrol in Guildhall Square and Commercial Road with five other members of the group and discovered the crime on Sunday evening.
The 21-year-old, who regularly travels from his home in Southampton to volunteer and help the city’s homeless, said: ‘It was a shock.
‘It was a sickening feeling to know somebody had stolen all of this. It made me feel numb.’
Mr Bamber, who has been with the charity for eight months, said the vehicle was parked in Slindon Street, Landport.
He claimed the impact on Helping Hands had been huge, saying the Acer laptop that was stolen was vital in the charity’s ‘background administration work’.
‘It’s come to a halt,’ he said. ‘We used the laptop to respond to people’s enquiries on how they can donate, responding to people’s concerns about homeless people and putting articles on our website.
‘We’re trying to do this on a phone but it’s incredibly difficult.’
Army veteran and fellow volunteer, Emma Staniforth, feared fellow veterans who were living on the street could be impacted by the crime.
She added: ‘No-one wants to see this happen. But for this to happen to somebody who volunteers 30 hours a week, every week to help the homeless, it is very sad.
‘He is incredibly selfless.’
Since the raid, Mr Bamber took to crowdfunding site JustGiving to raise cash to pay for a replacement laptop.
The post was shared hundreds of times and in a matter of a days the charity managed to reach £555 – smashing its £450 target.
Mr Bamber added: ‘Everyone has been incredible. But we would still like more donations to come through to help the charity.’
Officers received the report of the crime at 7.40pm, confirming a back window was smashed to enter the vehicle.
A spokeswoman added: ‘Anyone with information should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting 44180074665.’
To support the charity, see hhportsmouth.com or search for ‘Helping Hands Portsmouth’ on Facebook and Twitter.