STAFF at a community organisation which distributes food and essential supplies have been left devastated after a break-in - but heartened by the response of supporters.
Two vans used by Edlington Community Organisation (ECO) were damaged during the raid in the early hours of New Year’s Eve.
The organisation is based at Yorkshire Main Community Centre on Edlington Lane and operates a number of projects which support disadvantaged people in Edlington and the surrounding area, including a foodbank and a community cupboard scheme.
But disruption has been kept to a minimum with the help of volunteers from the community, who have offered to make deliveries in their own vehicles.
Samantha Siddall, of ECO, said the lock on the community centre’s gate had been broken and the perpetrator had tried to get into the building through a shutter and window, but was unsuccessful.
However, both of the organisation’s vans, a Peugeot Expert and a refrigerated Vauxhall Astra, were damaged.
The Astra’s windows were smashed in and the intruder damaged a wing mirror.
On the Peugeot, the rear doors were forced open, a passenger window was smashed and the internal electrics were damaged.
Samantha said both of the vans, paid for through fundraising, had to be taken off the road, but she was hoping the Astra would be back on the road soon.
She said the Peugeot might not be back on the road for another week.
Samantha said: “I’m absolutely devastated that all the work we do, and have done for our community, particularly over the last year has now been jeopardised, and it is the community itself who will suffer without the use of our van to collect the volume of food we need.
“ECO has worked hard to raise funding and secure grants for our vehicles so we can support people who are disadvantaged and now our operations are severely impacted as a result of a mindless act.”
An online fundraising page which was set up to pay for the excess on the insurance for the vans has raised £810.
Samantha said many people had offered to deliver food in their own vehicles or even on foot until the vans were back on the road.
“The community are pulling together and putting a positive spin on it as much as possible,” she said.
A police spokeswoman said the incident had been reported at 6.50am on December 31.
“It is understood that the suspect forced entry to two vans parked there, but nothing was stolen,” she said.
“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident number 288 of December 31.”
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