THIEVES smashed into the foodbank in Lymington and stole cash and food meant for people in desperate need of it, leaving the charity workers “devastated”.

Trustees of the New Forest Basics Bank were alerted by staff from the United Reformed Church, who were horrified to discover the damage left after the break-in.

The thieves put a brick through a glass panel and attempted to break into the filing cabinet, but the food bank have a policy of not leaving money in the building, meaning they could only take petty cash.

Trustees said the raiders stole food items and left the place in a mess, but didn’t enclose the amount of cash stolen.

Chairman of the food bank, Oliver Stanley, said: “We are the last people who expect to get stolen from, we are the charity who helps those with less.

“It really has come as a complete shock, and we are all devastated that this has happened.

“The police were alerted, and once we were given permission to enter the premises, with a team effort we managed to clean the place up, clear up the broken glass and still managed to operate our service sending out 15 food parcels to clients in need.

“We all worked hard to make sure our important service was not interrupted, and thankfully we managed to achieve that.”

People rushed to help the charity after the break-in.

A group donated £100 and one man donated food and even his heating allowance after seeing the destruction left by the thieves.

The break-in comes after a spate of burglaries in Lymington where businesses have been targeted. The food bank were aware of this but didn’t think the thieves could get past the pass code protected security gate and the double lock on the door.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said they were investigating the burglary and it wasn’t known if anything was stolen.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting reference number 44190438322.