Thieves break into Newbury Day Care Centre
The thieves forced their way into Fairclose Day Centre using the base of a scaffolding pole. They made off with less than £1, but the damage to the building will cost thousands to repair.
It is the third time in just 12 months that the centre in Newtown Road has been targeted, and distraught manager Karen Ockwell said that the latest break-in had had a devastating financial effect.
She said: “The people who are responsible are scum. It sickens me that people can do this knowing that this place is associated with the elderly.
“The elderly people may not have to live here but it is their home five days a week and the whole thing has been quite upsetting for them.
“Doing something like this is quite sick. It really affects people and those responsible have shown no compassion whatsoever.
“We are self-funded and a registered charity. Many of the voluntary staff here buy their own things to keep the place going and, like a lot of places, we do struggle financially.
“Even a pound is a lot of money to us, but it’s going to cost thousands to repair the damage and our insurance premiums will go up, which means it will cost us even more in the long run.”
A client at the centre, who did not want to be named, said: “Attacking the elderly is the worst form of behaviour and I hope they get caught.
“This has been very unnerving for us and it will take us time to get over it.”
Chef Les Irons discovered the break-in at about 7am on Monday morning and he immediately alerted Meals on Wheels administrator Lorraine Cladingboel, who called the police.
She said: “What has happened is outrageous and just makes you want to cry. It’s so personal. These people are just heartless and it is a horrible invasion of our privacy.”
They broke in by smashing the fire door, which Mrs Ockwell said would alone cost between £1,200 and £1,500 to replace.
One resident said that they had spotted someone in the building at about 11pm on Sunday evening, and another had noticed that the lights were on at 5am on Monday morning.
All three offices were broken into and the attackers left the scaffolding base and a torch behind.
Staff have said that any donations would be gratefully received and anyone wishing to help could do so by contacting them directly.
Anyone with information should call Thames Valley Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.