'It's devastating': Break-in at children's hospice charity shop

The entrance to Haven House Children's Hospice's shop in South Street, Romford is boarded up after the glass door was...

The entrance to Haven House Children's Hospice's shop in South Street, Romford is boarded up after the glass door was smashed. - Credit: Haven House Children's Hospice

Police are investigating after a Romford charity shop's front door was smashed and the store left "in disarray".

Officers noticed damage to the front of Haven House Children's Hospice shop, in South Street, shortly after 5.35am on Wednesday, January 6.

A Met spokesperson said: "On further examination of the inside of the property they discovered items were in disarray, but no intruders were still present.

"The damaged window was boarded up to ensure security and an investigation launched."

Mike Palfreman, the charity's chief executive, spoke to the Recorder after seeing the damage done to the store.

He said no money was taken, because none is kept on the premises, but some of the shop was ransacked.

The store, which is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, normally provides income towards the charity's work in providing care to children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

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Mike said: "It's devastating. There is glass everywhere, including outside and into the building.

"The contents of various drawers inside have been pulled apart and scattered around the place. It will cause a lot of grief and demotivation amongst our staff and volunteers."

The damage done to the glass front door of Haven House Children's Hospice's shop in South Street, Romford.

The damage done to the glass front door of Haven House Children's Hospice's shop in South Street, Romford. - Credit: Haven House Children's Hospice

He said the repair bill could be up to £1,500, adding: "These shops are there to support the vital work we do for children and families, which is needed even more right now.

"It's a kick in the teeth for all the good people who are doing fantastic work to support those children and families.

"It's also a kick in the teeth for those families we're supporting through this awful time."

Mr Palfreman said the hospice was estimating lost fundraising income of more than £500,000 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, after the cancellation of events and shop closures.

He said the future remains very uncertain and asked people to donate to the Woodford Green charity if they could.

Mike was also keen to thank those who have supported it, adding: "We have been blown away at how our community has come together to help over the past months."

The Met confirmed that no arrests have been made and that enquiries continue.

To donate to Haven House, visit https://www.havenhouse.org.uk/appeal/donate.

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