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Thieves raid Durham hospice, stealing donations
HEARTLESS thieves have broken into a hospice and stolen an estimated £200 from a donations box while seriously ill patients lay just yards away.
Two men smashed their way into St Cuthbert’s Hospice, in Durham City, which offers free care for people with terminal illnesses, at about 8.30pm on Wednesday (August 14).
They smashed open a plastic globe where visitors leave donations and made off with the cash.
Hospice chief executive Paul Marriott said: “We are surprised and shocked. Fortunately it’s the first time we’ve ever had an incident like this.
“We’re glad none of the patients or staff were harmed but it’s hard to believe anybody would enter the hospice and take money that’s been donated by relatives and friends for the benefit of patients here.
“You just wouldn’t expect a hospice to be targeted.”
Mr Marriott said two men followed two hospice workers into the Merryoaks premises at about 8pm. When questioned, they said they wanted to use the toilets.
The workers told them to leave but shortly afterwards there followed an “almighty crash” as they broke through the front door.
They smashed the 4ft globe kept in the lobby and made off when the staff returned.
Mr Marriott said the hospice was supporting the staff involved, who were left shaken and upset.
Security is also being reviewed but the hospice must remain a place where people are free to come and go to their loved ones, he added.
The first thief is described as white, about 6ft tall, of thin build, aged 30 to 40, with fair hair. The second is described as white, about 5ft 7ins tall, of slim build and in his late 20s or early 30s.
St Cuthbert’s Hospice provides day care and an in-patient unit. Last month, it announced major new development proposals which will take its running costs up to £2.43m a year.
PC Sarah Douglas, of Durham Constabulary, said: “To break into a hospice whilst terminally ill patients are lying in bed and to cause such a disturbance is appalling and shocking.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call PC Douglas via Durham police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.
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