A CHARITY shop was forced to stay closed following the bank holiday after hundreds of pounds was stolen from the store.

Thieves broke into the Age UK Blackburn with Darwen store in Market Street, Darwen, between 5pm on Saturday, August 27, and 8.50am on Tuesday, August 30.


The burglars took £500 from a secure storage unit in the shop after forcing their way through iron bars which were guarding a locked back window.

On Tuesday the store was closed following the burglary but is now back open.

Vicky Shepherd, chief executive of Age UK Blackburn with Darwen, said the incident was very upsetting.

She said: “This cash would have gone to helping older people and it is very distressing that this has happened.

“The window at the back was fully secure but they’ve just managed to cut through the bars and break the lock on the window.

“This cash is hard earned.

“People give their time for free at the store and lots of people support our cause with donations.

“I’m extremely angry.

“Any cash that we receive is critically needed to support older people and we will be reviewing our security following this incident.”

The news of the break-in comes after a sharp spike in reported burglaries in the town.

Last month it was reported that nearly 70 burglaries had been recorded by police since the beginning of June, which amounted to around one incident every other night.

Most break-ins have occurred at small businesses such as Curry Palace in Railway Road and Card Factory in Market Street as well as the Age UK store.

Officers have been carrying out regular patrols to put off would-be offenders and catch people in the act.

Sgt Dave Sherrington, of Darwen Neighbourhood Police, said: “This spate of late night burglaries is a real cause for concern.

“I would strongly advise that businesses do not leave any cash in premises overnight and put up a sign to say that no cash is being kept inside.”

Investigations into the break-in at Age UK are ongoing, police said.

Anyone with information should contact the police on 101.

People can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111.