A DISUSED mine used to collect donations for the RNLI has been damaged after thieves broke in and stole money.

The item, which functions as a donation box for RNLI Poole on Poole Quay, was broken after thieves prised it open and took the money inside.

The amount taken is unknown but the Poole lifeboat station has still been left frustrated by the incident, which was reported on the evening of February 7.

An RNLI spokesperson said: "It just makes you sad. We're a charity that is not government funded.

"Our income comes from people donating or our fundraising. We had 149 shouts last year and every time a life boat comes back, we have to wash it down and refuel it it which is extremely costly."

This was the third time the mine has been broken into and an industrial lock had been installed to deter thieves. 

However, clearly not enough of a deterrent, the perpetrators damaged the mine's paintwork in their attempts which was only done last year. 

The spokesperson said: "The mine was re-done at the end of last year and it was taken away and refurbished by Elite Fabrication & Welding Ltd and repainted by our helm John in lifeboat colours. 

"It looked fantastic and it makes people smile so the fact someone can blatantly come with what I presume was angle grinder to take money is so disappointing."

Despite the annoyance caused, RNLI Poole has been blown away by local response to the news who have offered support and help. 

Elite Fabrication & Welding Ltd have once again offered their facilities while another local resident has offered to install CCTV. 

Anne-Marie said: "It really helps when you're feeling kicked in the shin and we're so grateful for everyone's kind words and comments and every penny donated.

"It helps use save lives at sea and that's ultimately what we're here for."

The station have plans to install a card donation point so cashless donations can be made. 

However, Anne-Marie recommends anyone with unwanted loose change to still donate to their boxes.