Manchester

Thieves steal cash and equipment from Oldham Foodbank

The trashed office Image copyright Oldham Foodbank
Image caption Thieves "ransacked the office", the food bank said

Thieves have "ransacked" a food bank in Greater Manchester, stealing equipment, cash and food for people in need.

Three tablet devices and Β£200 were taken over the weekend from Oldham Foodbank in the Three Crowns Centre.

The food bank said it is assessing the damage after the intruders "ransacked the office", and appealed for tinned food to replace stolen items.

Manager Lisa Leunig said without the tablets, she can not help people "in desperate need" get fuel to cook.

The food bank, which is part of a nationwide network supported by the Trussell Trust, said a PC tower containing its main hard drive was also taken but added that all the stolen devices were password protected.

The tablets were used to refer people in crisis to the fuel bank for emergency payments and for a nationwide survey into food banks run by Edinburgh University.

Ms Leunig said "99% of the people that come in are in desperate need" and "until we get the new tablets, we won't be able to help them with fuel - so the food we're giving them, they may not be able to cook".

"The Oldham police station is right behind us - that's how hard-faced these people are. They don't care about anybody else but themselves, which is really sad", she said.

Image copyright Oldham Foodbank
Image caption The food bank, which opened in 2012, has a communal area for people in crisis

The food bank said filing cabinets were damaged and about Β£200 donated over the Christmas period was stolen.

Greater Manchester Police said it was investigating after being called at 10:15 GMT on Monday to the building in Manchester Street following reports of a burglary, which is thought to have happened sometime after midday on Saturday.

It appealed for donations as well as "tinned fish, rice pudding, tinned tomatoes and UHT milk" and tweeted: "We will not let it beat us, open tomorrow with smiles".

It tweeted that it was "overwhelmed with the support, wishes and offers of help" and would re-open on Tuesday as normal, saying: "We will not let an individual or individuals stop us from helping those in crisis and need."

Ms Leunig said she had now bought a CCTV system and would be installing alarms.

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