A SCOUT team has been left devastated after a hut was broken into and gas canisters were stolen from inside.

The youth charity uses the gas for fundraising events, to secure adventures for young people, and cooking on camping trips and other events.

The Somerford Scout scouting group in Christchurch was closed over Christmas and during this time hundreds of pounds worth of gas were stolen from its headquarters.

The padlocks were cut on both cages containing the canisters as well as the metal cages where the gas was stored.

The damage caused by the break-in has meant that all the locks at the site have had to be replaced, and the metal cages need to be repaired.

Somerford Scouts are fundraising to implement new measures, such as CCTV, to prevent break-ins from re-occurring.

Group scout leader Sue Old has been with the Somerford group for more than 50 years and is known by the scouts as Aunt Kayla.

She said: "Why would anyone steal from a children's charity?

"The children are going to lose out. We use that gas to fundraise, and the money we raise keeps the group running."

Somerford Scouts organised a cooking competition for February, as well as a camping trip for the group. The group hopes to replace the gas canisters before then so that the activities can proceed.

Christchurch Scouting posted about the theft on social media and has received an influx of support from individuals and local businesses.

A Bournemouth-based business, Telco Locksmiths, has offered to supply Somerford Scouts news locks and chains for its gas cages, saving the scout group hundreds of pounds.

Individuals have donated money and dropped off gas bottles, and Christchurch Sports and Social Club donated £80 to the youth charity.

Christchurch Scouting said: "We have been overwhelmed by all the kind people and businesses that have offered equipment, services or donations after a break-in at Somerfield Scout Hut; on behalf of the group, we would like to say thank you."