Anger as charity for vulnerable men hit by burglars
The chairman of a charity that offers confidential counselling to vulnerable men said he was shocked to discover its premises had been broken into - but has moved to reassure clients their details weren't stolen.
Burglars stole equipment worth thousands of pounds in a break-in of Men's Action Network in Londonderry and ransacked rooms before making their getaway.
Michael Lynch said he was saddened to see the destruction but it would be back to business on Monday
Mr Lynch told the Belfast Telegraph: "I called into the office as usual this morning (Friday) but as soon as I came to the front door I saw everything strewn all over the place so I knew there had been a break-in.
"It was such a sad sight to see and I am at a loss as to why anyone would break into somewhere that provides a service that helps men in the way we do.
"It is such a heartless thing to do.
"We fundraise for around 70% of our running costs and it is an ongoing battle to raise enough to keep our doors open.
"Having to cover the cost to replace or repair equipment is something we could have done without, nevertheless we will not be deterred.
"It looks like they kicked in one of our doors and they trashed a lot of our stuff, emptied the cupboards and stole one of our laptops.
"They also took a bag we keep medical equipment in that we use for health MOTs that I imagine they thought was another laptop, so all in all we lost around £2,000 worth of equipment.
"None of the computers we have were taken and what I am able to say - and what is perhaps most important - is that all of our clients' details are safe.
"All our clients' details are on a client monitoring system like a cloud so they are secured with passwords and we don't hold paper files, so we can reassure our clients in that respect.
"Unfortunately we had to cancel appointments scheduled with clients so we can clear up, but we will have everything back to normal for Monday morning."
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "Police in Derry are investigating reports of a burglary at commercial premises in Patrick Street.
"At this time it is believed that entry was gained sometime between 5pm on Thursday and 8am on Friday, August 8-9. The investigation is at an early stage and it is unclear at this time what has been taken. Officers would ask anyone with any information to contact them at Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 418 09/08/19. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."