Urgent appeal for donations as Dunstable charity shop devastated by flood and break-in

One of the broken doors
One of the broken doors

A Dunstable charity shop is urgently appealing for donations after it was flooded - and then burgled - in just a matter of days!

Forces Support, Broadwalk, lost 90 per cent of its stock to water damage after flooding on Sunday caused ceilings to leak, while after closing on Tuesday devastated staff returned the next morning to find it had been burgled, its back doors smashed and around £200 stolen.

However, determined to keep calm and carry on, the team kept the shop open, with local residents and businesses offering quotes for repairs as well as making kind donations.

Matt Simmons, manager, said: “We have lost about six to seven thousand pounds worth of stock because of the flooding. You could jump on the carpets and puddles would appear!

“It was caused by three burst pipes upstairs in the old Unity nightclub and on Tuesday we had to close.

“We came in early on Wednesday to find our back doors were completely open, ripped to pieces! We are guessing a crow bar was used.

“The safe had been taken and the till draw was also open. Probably around £200 was taken.”

Matt explained that the flooding started on Sunday afternoon when water began dripping into the back store room.

The Quadrant had workmen fix the broken pipe that evening, however then two more pipes burst causing the charity shop to completely close on Tuesday while the problem was fixed.

However, when the team came in on Wednesday morning, discovering there had been a break-in was the final straw.

Matt said: “My assistant manager Toby Cole and I were nearly in tears, I’m not going to lie.

“We’re totally disgusted and we’ve got a notice in the shop window explaining what happened.

“A lot of people have seen the post I put on Facebook asking for help and have come in to give us quotes for repairs.

“What we need now is donations - we take anything and everything!”

Matt would like to say a huge thank you to the “amazing” Dunstable community for their support, as well as his assistant manager Toby Cole and all the Forces Support volunteers, who have gone the extra mile.

The manager also gave a special mention to Dunstable Lock and Safe, electrician Steve Witcomb, and A.S. Skip for their support.

He said: “The forces don’t stop, so we don’t stop! We support the families of the forces while the soldiers are away fighting for us.”

Forces Support accept all donations apart from any items of safety equipment.

They also have a van which travels to customers’ doors to collect charity bags: 01582 471 890.

Forces support “provide general maintenance around the home and garden, completing the jobs that have built up overtime while a family grieves - or the work the lost family member would have done for his or her family.”

To find out more, visit: http://www.forcessupport.org.uk/

A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman, said: “We received a report of a burglary at a charity shop in Broadwalk, Dunstable, which took place after the store had closed on Monday (March 5).

“A quantity of cash and electronic equipment were stolen, and we would ask anyone with information to contact us via our website or by calling 101, quoting reference number JD/10545/18.

“Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”