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Two charged after ‘traumatic’ targeted attack on charity food store in Hemel Hempstead

Surveying the damage: Sunnyside trainees Ryan Zammit, Gemma Kinchin and Joel Stewart with Hemel Food Garden store manager Kealey Henderson. PNL-140403-121600001

Surveying the damage: Sunnyside trainees Ryan Zammit, Gemma Kinchin and Joel Stewart with Hemel Food Garden store manager Kealey Henderson. PNL-140403-121600001

Callous thieves who targeted a charity which provides work opportunities for adults with learning difficulties have been charged following a break-in during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Sunnyside Rural Trust’s Hemel Food Garden store off Two Waters Way was raided by opportunists who used the door handle of a disabled toilet to smash in wooden shutters and glass doors protecting the property at the weekend.

A call to the charity by police revealed a laptop, some cash and a box of crisps had been taken in the burglary, but the computer has since been recovered.

Sunnyside’s horticultural co-ordinator Sarah Barker has spent today clearing up shards of shattered glass and removing all stock from the shop floor.

She said: “There has been a huge amount of damage and our trainees are quite upset by it because they work as part of our team in there, and a lot of the displays they spent time on have had to be dismantled.

“It is pretty traumatic for us all. It is a complete tragedy that this amount of damage has been caused for such little gain to the perpetrators.

“We have large signs that say we work with adults with learning difficulties. Before the perpetrators broke in they knew exactly what they were targeting, which makes it even more disappointing.”

Two men have now been charged with burglary and criminal damage following the incident.

Sunnyside is now in contact with police and insurers to recover the items stolen and repair the damage caused, and temporary measures are being put in place to keep the area secure.

Call police on 101 quoting the crime reference D1/14/1297 if you have any information.

 

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