A CITY charity chief has slammed the ‘despicable’ thieves who stole thousands of pounds worth of gardening equipment during a heartless raid on a Worcester hospice.
St Richard’s Hospice chief executive Mark Jackson said he was left stunned after the ‘callous’ attack which saw thieves cut down trees and rip out fencing in order to steal a ride-on lawn tractor, mower and strimmer.
The equipment had been purchased with kind-hearted donations from the local community to keep the garden and grounds of the Wildwood Drive hospice in top condition for patients and their families to enjoy from their hospital beds.
Thieves ripped off the side door of the locked garden shed and opened the locked double doors from the inside and cut through two fences.
They then cut down a damson tree and laurel shrub in order to reach the getaway vehicle which is believed to have been parked on Spetchley Drive at the back of the hospice.
“This was clearly premeditated and must have involved more than one person,” Mr Jackson said.
“Any theft is despicable but this is even more callous to steal from a charity which relies on generous donations from the public. It’s a crime against the whole community.
“The tranquil garden and grounds of St Richard’s are particularly important to our patients and their loved ones, giving them a beautiful space to look out on from their hospice beds, see the flowers and wildlife or stroll around and enjoy the calm atmosphere.
“We particularly need the gardening equipment at this time of year as the grass is growing so fast and our hospice team of staff and volunteers work very hard to keep the garden immaculate,” he added.
A spokesperson from West Mercia Police said: “Between 5pm on Thursday 28 July and 8am on Friday 29 July, unknown offender or offenders have gained access to the rear garden of the property and forced a lock on an outbuilding.
“Several power tools were stolen from within, including a Mountfield ride on mower, a Mowerland lawn mower, a Honda strimmer and fuel cans, before exciting through a neighbouring garden and causing damage to fencing and shrubs.
“Police would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area at the time or anyone who may have been offered items for sale.
Anyone with information on the raid is asked to call 101 quoting incident number 392s of 29 July or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.