A charity says its work supporting people with mental health problems and learning difficulties is under threat after £7,000 worth of equipment was stolen.
Thieves broke into Key Enterprises’ unit on the North Tyne Industrial Estate in Benton on Friday night and cut a hole into a container before stealing gardening equipment including strimmers, hedge cutters and hand tools.
The charity provides support and training to vulnerable adults with mental health problems and learning difficulties.
One of the charity’s training departments is gardening and horticulture, where service users under supervision, receive training by doing real work for customers in North Tyneside.
Operational manager Lisa Donnalley said: “We are devastated.
“The people who did this were people who knew what was in the container and had planned this.
“They weren’t able to take the grass cutters, but they took everything else – petrol hedge cutters, strimmers, everything. It is a huge blow.
“Our service users are absolutely devastated.
“We work with people with mental health issues and learning difficulties who often have self confidence and self esteem problems, and this will really set them back.
“We are not a rich commercial company that can afford losses, and we can’t afford to go out and replace all the items so that we can continue our work.
“Hopefully the insurance will cover everything, but who knows how long we will have to wait before we can get everything replaced.
“It is the affect this will have on our service users – they have a great sense of ownership about the work that they do, so to lose the equipment that they use is very sad to see.
“This will have a negative affect on them.”
Anyone who is offered gardening equipment for sale, should call police on 101 ext 69191.