Coronavirus: Dump truck burglary bid at Peterlee food bank

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image copyrightEast Durham Trust
image captionThe attempted raid was disrupted by police who had been alerted by neighbours

Food bank staff are "devastated" after their storage unit was smashed into by a dump truck in an attempted burglary.

The East Durham Trust's container in Peterlee was targeted on Sunday.

Chief executive Malcolm Fallow said "many items of food" including eggs and produce in glass jars were damaged and lost.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of theft and later released under investigation.

The burglary at about 13:00 BST on Yoden Road was thwarted by police who had been alerted by neighbours.

'Stoop so low'

Mr Fallow said the trust had seen a "huge increase in demand" amid the coronavirus outbreak.

He said it had delivered a "record number" of emergency food parcels last week to those self-isolating while an increase in people claiming benefits had also raised demand.

"It beggars belief that anyone could stoop so low," Mr Fallow said.

"We are in the middle of supporting hundreds of vulnerable people at such a critical time and this is the last thing we needed.

"As well as the loss of food and the valuable time needed to sort out the mess, this is a major blow to the morale of staff and volunteers."

A Durham Police spokeswoman said: "It is believed the suspect broke through the secure fence and once inside managed to start a site digger.

"They then used the digger to tip over a large metal container which caused damage to its side."

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