Volunteers at a local charity shop have been left ‘heartbroken’ after a burglary last week.

A volunteer from the ICH charity shop in Wakatu Industrial estate, was left in shock when opening the store on Tuesday morning last week, to find a window pried open, and the entire till missing.

“It leaves a really horrible feeling in your gut,” says manager Gill Burson.

Founded in 1949, IHC is New Zealand’s largest provider of services to people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The money raised from the local charity shop goes back into the Nelson and Tasman communities, to support those living with a disability.

“Everything we make goes back into the community, and it is a real shame that someone targeted us,” Gill says.

This isn’t the first time that this particular IHC shop has been targeted. Last year, their van, which they use to make deliveries and collections with, was stolen overnight. It was found by police, abandoned, and riddled with drug paraphernalia.

Gill says her volunteers have been left ‘shaken’ by the second burglary.

“Our volunteers put such devoted time into doing what they do, just to help others, and so do the people who donate to us. It hits everybody.”

Gill says that she is gutted for the volunteers who put their own time into the charity shop.

“We give our time, we are volunteers. We have one paid staff member who is paid for 20 hours, and that’s it.

“It leaves a feeling in your gut, you put your time and effort into helping others, and people just think they have the right to take whatever they like. Everyone is struggling at the moment.”

Gill estimates that the break-in has cost the charity store nearly $2000, including a few hundred dollars that were taken from the till, the cost of replacing the till, repairing the windows and adding improvements to the store’s security, and a loss of earnings from the next day while the store was closed.

The police are currently working through security footage from the store, and are pursuing several leads, thanks to information from the public. Police encourage anybody who has any information to contact them.

“It all goes back into our people. Every cent we make goes back into the community,” Gill says.

If you would like to support the IHC charity store, call them on 03 5444744 to make a donation.

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