Thieves who broke into the Pickering Cancer Drop in Centre in Tunbridge Wells over the holiday period ransacked the offices and stole hundreds of pounds the charity had been handed in donations.
They took away blue plastic ‘tins’ that had been used to collect money during a Christmas carol service along with cash that had been set aside to provide financial support for people plus help with everyday problems like paying for taxi fares to hospitals for treatment.
Each year Pickering, which is run entirely by volunteers, helps around 3,000 people whose lives have been touched by cancer. Since it was launched 13 years ago it has become one of the best known local charities.
Co-founder Polly Taylor commenting last night [Tuesday] on what happened said: “We just find it unbelievable and heartbreaking. We are all in a state of shock and spent much of the last few days cleaning up, and working out what has gone, so we could open the doors as usual this week.”
The break-in was discovered on New Year’s Eve after the intruders had smashed a fire safety window to gain access.
“They must have known they were breaking into Pickering,” said Ms Taylor. “It would have been obvious once they got through the door. If they had done it to find money for food because they were hungry and starving, it might make it more understandable. But we don’t believe that is the case.
“In all our 13 years nothing like this has ever happened.”
She said they broke open filing cabinets and desks and ‘just hurled things around’.
It is unusual for Pickering to have cash on the premises.
“It was only because we were so busy over the Christmas period that the collection tins had not been emptied and banked,” added Ms Taylor.
“The main message is that Pickering is open for business as usual.”
Anyone with information should contact Kent Police on 01622 604100 reference 31-0735