THIEVES broke into a hospice's fundraising van overnight, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

It is the second time Teesside Hospice has been targeted this year - in August a Teesside Hospice shop was burgled.

The van was parked in the car park of St Barnabas' Church, just off Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough, last night, Monday.

The thieves smashed their way into the van through a front window, stripping everything from the interior of the van, including the lights, gear stick, vents, door panels, glove box and more.

Although the van was insured, there is an excess on the insurance, premiums are likely to rise and the hospice is unable to complete its daily fundraising activities today, which is known as Giving Tuesday because it is the biggest charitable giving day of the year.

The impact of the theft means the hospice is losing vital funds for care.

Christmas is one of the most important times of the year for raising much-needed funds.

The van is no longer able to be used for fundraising, having a big impact on local people living with life limiting illnesses, who need Teesside Hospice’s care the most.

Fundraising Manager Kim Bradley said: “We are lost for words. We had managed to recover from the break in in August thanks to our local community, only to be faced with more damage.

"We have all been working so hard to give those in our care an amazing Christmas, and this will have an impact on everyone.

"We had plans for fundraising in our community today for Giving Tuesday, but we can no longer use our van.

"The cost of the damage is huge, and we will be faced with finding funds for repair. It’s an awful situation, and we don’t understand how anyone could target us, a local charity, for their own gain. We are broken-hearted.”