OFFICIALS from a Blind charity in Accrington are counting the cost of damage after a thief broke into their centre and stole electronic tablets and smartphones.

David Anderson, development Officer for Accrington and District Blind Society on Bank Street was shocked to discover a window was damaged and the lock was broken on two doors overnight on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning.

He said: “They stole some electronic tablets and smartphones which we use to demonstrate and train people with poor vision to help make their lives easier.

“Some of these are specially adapter which will render them useless for sighted people.

“One of the devices has a tracker system fitted so we will be able to monitor activity on that device.

“They also slashed a hole in a stud partition wall and our initial calculations suggest an overall loss to the society of about £2,000.

“They also tampered with our CCTV system to avoid them being identified.”

Mr Anderson praised the work of their employees, trustees and volunteers to help them to recover from the disruption of the break-in.

The centre was not the only shop targeted as Number 40 salon on nearby Warner Street was also broken into on the same night.

Adele Etherington, who has been running her business for 14 years, says she had just bought a couple of pair of scissors worth a total of £1,000 and then hair straighteners worth £140 were taken.

She insists the total cost is about £2,000.

She said: “I am disgusted and furious as I spent money repairing damage when someone broke in 18 months ago. I have had just bought the scissors and I am paying for them even though I won’t get to use them.

“I have CCTV but they have disconnected it but they got in through the back window after coming down the ginnel.

“The thief does not understand that this is our livelihood.

“I feel really sorry for them. They are a charity trying to run a service. I don’t know how anyone could do that and steal from them. They don’t really care about the effect it has on us.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We are investigating these incidents and would ask anyone with information to come forward with the log numbers of 0283 and 0290 of March 12.”