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Charity Barnet Mencap recovering after Hendon Lane headquarters ransacked
A Barnet charity is recovering after burglars ransacked its Finchley offices and stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment overnight.
Thieves smashed open the front door of Barnet Mencap’s Hendon Lane headquarters before trashing the large offices and stealing cash and electronic equipment.
Staff are still picking through the scattered files this morning and a police forensics team is examining the building for evidence.
Items known to have been taken include six new laptops, about £200 in cash, a projector unit and £1,000 worth of postage stamps, bought in bulk by the charity before prices increased last year.
Project co-ordinator Lorraine Jarman was first to arrive at the offices at 8.30am.
She said: “As I drove past I noticed the door was open. We could see through the windows that the place had been trashed so we didn’t go in until the police arrived.
“How can anyone do anything like this to a charity? We find it difficult enough to get equipment and facilities to do our job.
“It is despicable – I can’t have any other words. I don’t think they know what the impact on us is. It is going to take a long time to get things back in order. There are papers everywhere and it is all going to have to be refilled – it is so time consuming.”
Barnet Mencap provides help and support for up to 600 people in the borough with learning difficulties.
Chief executive Ray Booth, who has worked at Mencap for ten years, says last night’s break-in will have a knock-on effect on the charity’s 69 volunteers and its users.
He said: “We feel numb with disbelief. I came in today with three or four big problems I had to deal with but instead I’m clearing up after burglars. It is sickening for everyone in the office to have to see this.”
It is believed more than one person entered the office between 7pm last night (Thursday) and 8.30am this morning.
Cabinets containing confidential information were ripped open but Mr Booth is confident none of the personal details were taken.
He added: “They’ve been quite determined in getting into the cabinets and they were very bold to smash into the door on the high street. We’ll have to spend the next few days clearing up and going through it before we can get back to normal.”