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£6,000 damage as burglars urinate on food at Halesowen day centre

Dudley | News | Published:

Yobs have caused around £6,000 of damage during a burglary at a pensioners' day centre, including urinating on food destined for lunchtime meals.

Volunteers have been forced to close the Age Concern day centre, in Green Lane, Halesowen, since the attack which they say has left them reeling.

The centre, which caters for around 40 pensioners aged from 65 to 100 each day, has had to arrange an alternative meeting place at another centre in Stourbridge while the mess is cleared up.

Police have launched an investigation into the raid, which happened at around 3.30am on Monday.

Thieves set off a burglar alarm when they tried to break in to the building which holds social gatherings and serves up daily meals.

Councillor Ken Turner with Age Concern Halesowen director Larry Shingles and secretary Brian Mitchell, with the damaged alarm system

But they proceeded to climb onto a porch entrance door roof and rip it off the wall to stop it ringing.

They tried wrenching lead flashing off the roof before breaking off a section of the iron fence outside to use as a crowbar on the main door.

Volunteers believed they levered open the door before proceeding to ransack the offices towards the rear of the building.

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The office was turned over, with raffle prizes taken from a cupboard. They were due to be sold off to help raise funds.

They also wrecked a CCTV and alarm system and broke open drawers which contained £60 in cash.

Stunned volunteers say valuable food, which is bought to cook meals for the pensioners, was also taken from fridges and freezers.

The thieves also stole food as well as cutlery such as knifes, spoons and folks, and then urinated on the food that they could not carry.

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Centre director and ward councillor Ken Turner said: "I am absolutely appalled by this. It is hitting some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.

"It has robbed them of the opportunity to meet up with friends while the centre has been closed, which is just unacceptable."

"They have been silly and inconsiderate to the people who come here. It is also the mindless damage which I can't understand and why would they urinate on food? It's disgusting."

Councillor Turner said they hope to reopen the centre tomorrow and will be tightening security in the wake of the attack.

Centre secretary Brian Mitchell, aged 69, who is among those who have helped with the clean up, added: "I think that is very, very sad and will cost the centre money and charities like ourselves are struggling at the moment."Police are investigating.

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