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Dismay after 'scumbags' break into Wisbech charity hub set up to help the town's most vulnerable



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"Scumbags" and "lower than a snake's belly" are the words a charity organiser had to describe thieves who smashed their way into a distribution hub causing £1,500 and stealing valuable supplies.

Spike, who is chairman of the Wisbech-based 50 Backpacks, said he was speechless after last night's (Thursday) break-in at the charity's headquarters in Bridge Streett.

He was called by the property owner after the building's alarm was triggered at around 2.20am this morning.

Spike (left) and volunteer Blake Heron prepare to deliver boxes to the most vulnerable hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Wisbech. (32504768)
Spike (left) and volunteer Blake Heron prepare to deliver boxes to the most vulnerable hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Wisbech. (32504768)

"I got to the premises to discover they had forced a rear window to get in. They have caused £1,500 worth of damage at least, we have had to have the locks changed as they stole keys.

They took supplies and they also took around £170 in cash, which I was going to use this morning to buy packaging for the parcels we are delivering to the most vulnerable and elderly in Wisbech," he said.

Spike explained 50 Backpacks, which was initially launched to help the homeless in Wisbech, has turned its attentions to helping the vulnerable and elderly stuck at home due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Volunteers clean St Peter's Church Hall with anti-bacterial cleaner ahead of making up boxes of supplies for the vulnerable. (32504766)
Volunteers clean St Peter's Church Hall with anti-bacterial cleaner ahead of making up boxes of supplies for the vulnerable. (32504766)

He said: "We had a meeting yesterday (Thursday) with all the big organisations like Age UK and the councils who are now signposting people to us if they are vulnerable and in need. We have become the biggest parcel delivery service for the town and we have taken over St Peter's Church Hall to make up the packages ready to take out to those in need.

"They contain food to last a few days, toiletries and other essentials. We are looking to deliver around 800 to 1,000 boxes a week. We have 15 volunteers packing the parcels and 12 delivery drivers. We are following the social distancing advice with volunteers keeping the correct distance apart.

"The supplies are coming into St Peter's Church Hall, where it is all carefully cleaned before being boxed up. We are running low on packaging which is why I was planning to go out and buy more today. We need boxes, bags for potatoes and wrap - so if there are any firms that could help by donating some that would be great.

Boxes prepared by 50 Backpacks contain food for a few days and other essentials. (32504770)
Boxes prepared by 50 Backpacks contain food for a few days and other essentials. (32504770)

"We could ill afford to lose the £170, but we have also got to find £1,500 for the repairs as well as replace the stolen supplies, which were largely snacks and sweets.

"How anyone could do this is beyond me, they are just scumbags who are lower than a snake's belly. They have literally stolen from the elderly and the most vulnerable at this terrible time. My only hope is they were caught on one of the nine CCTV cameras we have in operation.

"The police are involved and they will have the CCTV images, so hopefully they will be able to catch whoever did this. In the meantime I'm trying to stay positive, and carry on doing what we are doing, which is helping those most in need.

"If people want to donate items they can be delivered to St Peter's Church Hall - but obviously people need to be aware of the social distancing rules if they do come down. We need to keep everyone safe including our volunteers."

Cash donations can be made via the website: https://50backpacksvision.uk or call the office on 01945 463306.



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