A HALTON hospice has made a desperate plea for funding after thieves broke in on the same evening thousands took to the streets to clap for our carers.

It is thought that the burglars smashed a window in the Halton Haven Hospice cafe, as well as a lock to a garden tool shed at the rear of the premises.

The incident took place some time between security checks at tea-time on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning – the evening when people across Britain were encouraged to take to the streets to show their appreciation for the UK’s NHS staff and carers.

Whilst staff at the hospice were unsure on the total cost of the damage, Director of Income Generation Karen Eden said the bill for the shed alone could be “possibly hundreds of pounds” for replacing “gardening equipment”.

She added: “That’s obviously going to be really difficult to replace at this moment in time.

“We can see into the cafe, it doesn’t seem that there’s been anything damaged other than the window being smashed. It’s hard to get into the back kitchen where any equipment would be just yet.

“It might just be a few hundreds of pounds worth of lost gardening tool but it’s another body blow just when we didn’t need it.”

Police Constable Stuart Beswick, of Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: “Any type of burglary is a serious offence, but to target a hospice that provides free palliative care to people with life-limiting conditions is truly disgusting.

“I would like to reassure members of the Runcorn community that the offender, or offenders, did not access any of the charity’s main buildings that house patients.

“I would also like to reassure them that we are determined to establish who is responsible for the burglary and make them face the consequences of their actions.

“We are in the very early stages of our investigation.

“As part of our ongoing enquiries we are urging anyone with information or footage that may be relevant to the investigation to contact us at Runcorn Police Station.

“Perhaps you have information regarding who committed the offence, or dashcam footage of them.”

Anyone with any information or footage that may aid the investigation should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 669426, or give the details via cheshire.police.uk/ro/report.

Alternatively, information can be reported to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously.

Coronavirus restrictions have already closed its shops and shut-down fundraising events, but Karen says staff are continuing to be resilient and get through the crisis.

“Our frontline staff have been so amazingly positive, we’re a small but really close team.

“We’ve all been in touch with each other sending posts, videos, and messages of support just to keep that positive side going even though everybody is worried about our critical financial position and also coronavirus.”

And now, Eden says it’s now more important than ever that the community gets behind the independent charity: “We have no reserves, we keep running month-on-month.

“We know that the people [of Halton] get behind us, they always do – but people need to know that this is not just a difficult time, it’s a critical time for us.”

You can support Halton Haven Hospice financially here. Cheshire Police are encouraging any members of the public with information to contact them, quoting the crime reference 20000185158