A GANG raided a charity-run community project for people with mental health issues, stealing around £6,000 of tools, and throwing the centre’s future into jeopardy.
The break-in, at Stubbylee Community Greenhouses, in Bacup, has left the scheme, which relies on grants, don- ations, and selling recycled wood prod-ucts made by visitors, without any tools.
Police said the extent of the burglary at Heads Up Rossendale suggested the thieves had a vehicle and ‘plenty of time’ to steal such a large quantity of power tools, mowers, and strimmers, overnight on Friday.
More than £3,000 of tools bought with a Big Lottery £276,000 cash grant were stolen, alongside £3,000 of tools brought in by visitors, many of whom have collected them over a lifetime.
The burglars broke through three locked doors.
Souta Van Wick, manager of the scheme and co-ordinator of Heads Up Rossendale, said: “It was such a shock when I came in on Sat-urday morning. I was gutted and furious to the point of tears. I just could- n’t believe the damage they have done.
“With funding being so hard to get, we are really in jeopardy. We have no tools to use in providing supported training and mentorship to people.
“We work with people who fall through the net with social services. It’s a safe place for them that provides them with somewhere to feel a sense of purpose.
“We have a plumber and a wood carver who come here and have been feeling better for the first time in years and now I’ve got to tell them their tools have been stolen.”
A Rossendale Police spokesman said: “If any-one saw anything susp-icious, or maybe heard of tools being for sale in local pubs, or on car boot sales, please call police on 101.”
The scheme has had to postpone next month’s fundraising soapbox chall- enge, where people make go-karts and race them, until October.
The resource will be setting up a Just Giving page where people can donate online, and tools can be given by calling Souta on 01706 872111, or by emailing souta firstname.lastname@example.org