Published Monday, 03 December 2012
A piggy bank smashed by thieves who stole the money inside. (© UTV)
Thieves targeted the Action Cancer and Marie Curie stores on the Cregagh Road on Thursday when they stole cash after smashing windows to get inside.
The robbers cut through the security gates at the back of the building and chiselled away part of the wall before breaking into the Action Cancer shop.
They smashed a piggy bank, took money from the sweet donation box and cut open the safe, causing around £500 damage.
Elizabeth Lemon, shop manager, said she was absolutely disgusted to hear how the thieves had made off with £150.
"It has left everyone here completely shocked by it and disgusted. The sum that they got was very little.
"No Action Cancer shop does keep either big or small amount of monies on their premises, so whatever gain they thought they were making the damage done far outweighs that gain," she said.
The money made at the charity shops helps local people with their serious illness, and Elizabeth said this robbery could have devastating effects.
"It's the equivalent of us cancelling 20 counselling sessions. These sessions are given to support either the cancer patient themselves or for children who have had a parent diagnosed with cancer," she added.
We are absolutely devastated and so disappointed at this time of year that people would do this to a local charity shop.
Just next door at the Marie Curie shop, determined robbers removed bars from an upstairs window, which they broke.
They stole a £30 till float, which shop manager Nicky Hamilton, said could have made a big difference to someone in the area.
"For every £20 we raise in our shop that gives one hour of care to a terminally ill person at our hospice. They've taken that away from us," she explained.
"This is the time when a lot of people give, not take and we are just hoping that people will see us and possibly help us with donations or help us get our shop back into order."
Elizabeth, Nicky and their staff are dealing with the break-ins and as they attempt to get their stores back to normal, police have appealed for anyone with information about the robberies to contact them.
© UTV News