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Charity is targeted by heartless thieves

Heartless thieves have broken into the north Belfast offices of a charity, stealing equipment which was to be used to help disaster-struck Haiti.

The offices of Concern Worldwide on Frederick Street were broken into and four laptops and items from a staff member’s handbag were stolen.

NI director of Concern Karen Gallagher said: “One of our staff members was meeting volunteers downstairs when a back window was broken and the thief or thieves managed to gain entry to the building before stealing the laptops.

“We’ve always had fantastic support from the local community and it saddens us especially because it is obvious what work we do here, the walls are covered in images from our projects working with extremely poor communities around the world.

“The stolen laptops had to be replaced quickly to allow the team to get on with their heavy workloads, so our IT department had to send up laptops that were due to be shipped to Haiti to aid Concern’s relief effort there. Though none of the laptops contained donor or other sensitive information, a lot of work was lost.”

North Belfast man Dominic MacSorley is heading up Concern’s efforts in earthquake devastated Haiti, where 200 Concern staff are working long hours to deliver essential supplies to affected people, and to help with the rebuilding of key health and education services.

Concern’s Belfast office has been in Frederick Street since 1984. A security review has been conducted to ensure that the building is unlikely to be targeted again. Concern works with the poorest people in the poorest countries in the world, across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

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A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “Police received a report of a burglary at commercial premises in the Frederick Street area during which a number of items were stolen including laptop computers.

“Police are investigating and would appeal to anyone who was in the area and who witnessed any suspicious activity or who has any other information to contact them on 0845 600 8000.

“Alternatively, information about crime can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by calling 0800 555 111.”

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