'Despicable' raiders ransack charity's office
Thieves stole £500 and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at a charity's offices in Belfast.
The raid on Adoption UK's office on the Antrim Road in the north of the city has devastated the charity's plan for a family day in October.
Its building was targeted sometime overnight early this week when raiders smashed their way in.
They then stole about £500 in donations and petty cash by forcing their way into three separate offices on the first floor of the headquarters by kicking their way through three fire doors.
Stephen McVey, development manager with Adoption UK in Northern Ireland, described the thieves as "despicable".
"Most of the cash which was stolen had been collected to go towards funding our family day," he said. "Two members of staff are doing a sponsored walk for Adoption UK so they had been starting to get funding from members of the public.
"Like all small charities, we run a tight ship financially and we don't get any money from Adoption UK's head office for family days, so we have to self-fund everything. We are hoping that up to 250 people will be able to attend our family day so this is a major blow towards us paying for the event, which will come in at around £1,500-£2,000."
Adoption UK's family day is due to be held at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra on Saturday, October 17, as part of National Adoption Week.
Mr McVey said the thieves have damaged a service to the community. "It's so sad that people are breaking into a charity as we're a not-for-profit organisation, so we're scrimping and saving and we're providing a service to the very community that's robbed us," he said. "The damage caused is estimated to be thousands of pounds."
The raid took place sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
Anyone who would like to donate to Adoption UK can do so by visiting the website at http://www.adoptionuk.org/ or alternatively by telephoning Adoption UK on 02890 775211.
Adoption UK provides support, awareness and understanding for those parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth parents.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI has appealed for information about the robbery. "Police are investigating following a burglary at premises on the Antrim Road," she said.
"The incident was reported to police on August 11. A number of offices were broken into."