AN East Lancashire charity shop have been left "devastated" following a break-in over the Easter weekend.

The incident occurred at Age UK Lancashire in Market Street, Nelson, early in the morning on Good Friday (April 15).

The charity shop faced days of closure while the premises were investigated, repairs were made and the shop tidied up.

Laura Roberts, retail manager at Age UK Lancashire, said: "The alert was raised by a local street cleaner who saw the glass in the front door had been smashed and called the police at about 7:30am on Good Friday. 

"Once in the shop it seems the thieves ripped the till from its position and then broke through a locked internal door to access the back-office space. 

"They stole the safe from the manager’s office, which only included a small amount of cash, as thankfully Tracey, the shop manager had banked the takings the day prior, as per our procedure."

The charity lost out on at least two days of trade, and is facing a bill of up to £1,000 to cover the cost of the damage. 

The total cost of the break-in is estimated to be nearly £2,000. It is likely that donations have been damaged or potentially stolen, so the true cost of the break in may be much greater.

Ms Roberts added: "Tracey, our shop manager, and the team of volunteers have been left devastated by this break in. 

"They take huge pride in the appearance of the shop and to see their displays ransacked and the shop itself damaged is really upsetting for them. 

"We are now working really hard to get everything back in order and are hoping that there isn’t any further damage or stock stolen."

The Age UK Lancashire charity shop in Nelson is one of the charities' flagship shops, generating vital income to help them support vulnerable older people in the local area. 

The shop is also a community hub where many people visit for a chat and are able to find out about what services and support is available.

The police are still investigating the break-in and working closely with the team at Age UK Lancashire to ensure the culprits are brought to justice.

To show support for the charity, they are encouraging people shop now the store is reopened, or bring donations of unwanted clothing and household items.