An organisation that supports people with a disability has been left devastated after a money box containing funds for Easter youth activities was stolen.
The green ceramic jelly baby-shaped money box, called Bertie, was stolen from a table in a corridor outside the office of North Tyneside Disability Forum (NTDF) in the Shiremoor Centre between 1pm and 3pm last Thursday.
Staff have estimated that the total amount of cash in the box was between £60 and £100. They were going to bank it the following day.
The funds were earmarked to help pay for the costs associated with fun sessions and trips during the Easter holidays that are being organised by the forum’s young people’s project.
NTDF lead community development worker Liz Turnbull said: “To do such a thing is dreadful. You can’t get any lower.
“The young people are devastated and the people I’ve spoken to are shocked and very disappointed that someone could steal this money.
“The Easter activities will still go ahead, but we will have to scale back what was being planned. In previous years, groups have gone bowling, to the cinema and to Newburn for a range of activities.
“Bertie has been part of our family for many years and we’re all sad that he is gone.
“When his foot was smashed off and we said he might have to go in the bin, many of our service users said we couldn’t do that because they enjoy putting their coins in him, so we put on an elaster-plast to cover the hole.”
NTDF supports physically disabled people, vulnerable and chronically sick people, deaf and blind people and learning disabled people. The young people’s project provides various sessions, activities and opportunities for children and young adults.
Inquiries into the theft are on-going. Anyone with information is asked to call Northumbria Police on 101 – reference 813/170316.