Heartless thieves forced a Bridlington charity to close for nearly a week after carrying out a despicable burglary.
Burglars broke into the town’s Samaritans building last week – smashing a window to access the site at St Mary’s Walk.
It meant the charity was unable to re-open until Tuesday this week.
Volunteer Vivienne Sheader said staff were devastated when they discovered their ransacked offices.
“It took me a moment to register what I was seeing”, she said.
“The mess they left behind was sheer vandalism. It’s difficult to say how much was stolen the money was in collection boxes.”
One of the collection boxes contained money for one outgoing volunteer’s leaving present.
And after destroying the kitchen window, the callous criminals also snatched a laptop and even an oil-filled radiator.
The selfish crime meant volunteers were unable to get on with potentially life-saving charity work because the building was not secure due to the broken window.
Vivienne added: “We take around 7,000 calls a year - they are not all from Bridlington, but if someone from Bridlington phones, then they first come through to us.
“We also reply to e-mails and texts from people as well. However we couldn’t do any of that until the window was replaced.”
The Samaritans provide emotional support to those in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide.
Because Vivienne and her team were unable to work, it meant calls from people in need were being diverted to other branches throughout the region.
She added: “Police have said people should be aware of bogus collections. The only things we have planned are two collections at Tesco in Bridlington and Driffield in April and May.”
Now police are appealing to the burglars or anyone who knows them to come forward.
A spokesman said: “The incident happened between 11pm on Tuesday, March 1 and 08.15am on Wednesday, March 2, at the charity’s offices in St Mary’s Walk, Bridlington.
“It is believed that thieves got into the premises after smashing a window, before making an untidy search of the premises and making off with the fundraising equipment.
“Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting crime reference number 2172472 of March 2.”
For more information about the Samaritans visit www.samaritans.org.
If you need help call the charity on 116 123.