A community centre which helps feed the homeless and needy has been left counting the cost after being ‘ransacked’ by heartless thieves.
The Saheli Centre on Charter Street in Accrington was broken in to on Thursday evening and not discovered until the following afternoon.
Shocked staff and centre users arrived to find doors ripped from their hinges, sports equipment cupboards raided and freezer doors left open, ruining the vital food inside.
The building is used daily by community and exercise groups and also holds a weekly ‘Feed the Needy’ initiative which is attended by around 45 people.
Muhammed Munir, who has been a caretaker at the centre for 12 years, said the thieves stole sports equipment, power tools, a projector and a PA system.
It is expected to cost several thousands pounds to repair the damage and replace the property.
Mr Munir, who also works in a factory, said: “The centre is used every day, mainly for ladies, and we have lots of classes and exercise groups.
“We are trying to help people, that’s why we are here, and something like this happens.
“It was completely unnecessary for them to cause such a mess and break off doors and cabinet drawers.”
Mr Munir, from Accrington, added that he had ‘never seen anything like it’.
He said: “We are very shocked. It’s going to take us ages to get everything back in order.
“The place was completely vandalised. They have gone through every drawer and cupboard and tipped everything onto the floor. Our CCTV system was also taken out so we can’t see who has done it. Whoever it was they must have been here for quite a while.”
Police have launched an appeal for witnesses.
A Hyndburn police spokesperson said: “For those who aren’t familiar with the Saheli Centre it is a community centre, which, amongst other activities, holds a Curry Club every Sunday between 1.30pm and 2.30pm, which feeds the homeless and those on the poverty line.
“There is an open door policy where everyone is welcome and a hot meal, dessert and a brew is provided. Did you see anything? Do you know something that might help the police? Can you help the Saheli Centre?”
Call police on 101 quoting ED1702621.