STAFF at a community organisation which distributes food and essential supplies were left devastated after a break-in — but heartened by the response from 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 several projects which support disadvantaged people, 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.
Centre manager Samantha Siddall (left)?said the lock on the gate had been broken and the perpetrator had tried and failed to get into to the building through a shutter and window.
However, both of the organisation’s vans, a Peugeot Expert and a refrigerated Vauxhall Astra, were damaged.
The Astra’s windows were smashed 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 vans — paid for through fundraising — had needed to be taken off the road, but she was hoping the Astra would be back soon.
She said the Peugeot might not be back on the road for another week.
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Samantha added: “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. 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 more than £800.
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 was reported at 6.50am on December 31.
“It is understood that the suspect forced entry to two vans, but nothing was stolen,” she said. “Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident 288 of December 31.”
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