THIEVES raided a community centre and stole charity boxes from a café which supports disabled people.

The front door of Bangor Street Community Centre in Blackburn was smashed and thieves forced their way into the reception area during the break-in, in the early hours of yesterday (Friday August 14).

The community centre, which has been closed to the public, is home to, among others, Purple Patch Disability Services, the FACE Youth group, Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living and One Voice.

CCTV footage from approximately 2.35am shows two men using a large stone to break the glass and crawl into the building before they make their way through the centre.

Iqbal Bhai, centre manager, said: “They were burgling a community centre. What did they expect to find? We have no money here.

“It has just caused a lot of damage to the doors and there is a huge mess to clean up.”
Petty cash totalling £30 and gym membership money, also totalling £30, was stolen from reception. In CCTV footage, the thieves can be seen trying to open a safe.

Iqbal said: “Even if they did open the safe, they would have found no money in there as this is emptied at the end of every day. We have been closed for several months anyway.

“They tried the keys in the office, but none for the safe are kept on site. They emptied the petty cash box and rifled through the drawers but I am sure when they read this they will be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.”

The thieves then went through the centre and eventually broke down a door only to discover it was the broom cupboard with cleaning products and some toilet rolls. From the café, which is managed by Purple Patch who assist those with disabilities, two small charity boxes have been stolen.

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A sweets machine belonging to the charity ‘Starlight’ which supports terminally ill children

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Iqbal added: “They must have realised there is nothing in the building of any value and they then smashed a sweets machine we keep in the hallway which belongs to the charity ‘Starlight’ which aims to support terminally ill children.

“Elsewhere there is damage in the Purple Patch Café and on the second floor some doors were kicked in. But there was nothing of any value here to take."

Police said they were called at 8.40am yesterday to reports of a burglary overnight at a community centre in Norwich Street, Blackburn. 

It appears unknown offenders have smashed their way through the front door, before ransacking an office and attempting to break into a safe. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing. 

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting log 0346 of August 14, 2020.