Article by Emma Robinson: This is the moment masked burglars broke into a charity-run community centre and smashed open a safe to steal wads of cash.
CCTV cameras captured two men, who wrapped bright blue t-shirts around their heads to cover their faces, ripping down the shutters at the Hannakins Farm Community Centre, in Rosebay Avenue, Billericay, before smashing open a rear door.
Once inside, the raiders ransacked the office, ripping open key safes mounted to the wall. They were able to use one of the keys inside to unlock the main safe, containing at unknown amount of cash. The money included savings for new equipment, deposits from groups hiring out the centre, and the bar float.
The CCTV footage also shows a third man standing outside to keep look-out.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Michael Nyea trustee of the West Billericay Community Association"]They have absolutely ransacked the office. They jemmied open the till and the filing cabinets and smashed key safes off the wall. Eventually, having smashed open two safes, they went outside but came back again because they found the key to the main safe. They took customer deposits and a lot of change for the bar float. They smashed open the door into the bar. We are currently getting everything replaced.[/quote]
The thieves wore tracksuits and gardening gloves to ensure they didn't leave incriminating fingerprints. Officers arrived ten minutes after the burglary, which took place at about 3.25am on Friday, June 10, after the thieves activated an alarm. By the time they arrived, the culprits had fled the scene.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mr Mye"]All they have done is ripped off a charity. It means that we won't have the money to cover costs or invest in equipment. But clearly that didn't enter their thought process. I hope they are proud. It's just so frustrating because we had metal shutters, alarms, CCTV cameras and key safes, yet that still didn't deter them.[/quote]
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Essex Police spokesperson"]We are investigating a burglary at the Hannakins Farm Community Centre, in Rosebay Avenue, Billericay. Suspects have torn the shutter system at the back and smashed the rear door to get inside. They have smashed up doors and broken into cabinets and safes to steal cash. Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused.[/quote]
No arrests have been made.
Anyone with information can call Essex Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Read original article by Emma Robinson, The Echo