A SAMARITANS charity shop was targeted in the latest of a spate of burglaries across Southend.

Thieves smashed a hole in the glass door of the Hamlet Court Road shop in Westcliff, between Thursday night and Fridaymorning, but were not able to crawl through.

Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation charity shops in Southend were hit last week, with more than £1,000 of damage being caused to the latter and £500 worth of stock stolen.

Five charity shops were also targeted in a single night in Leigh a week earlier, with hundreds of pounds of cash and items being stolen.

However, although nothing was stolen from the Samaritans shop and it was open by 10.30am, the charity was forced to spend about £200 repairing the glass.

Southend Samaritans chairman John Townsend, 64, noticed the damage when he went to open up at about 9.45am. He said: “It seems disgusting that someone could do this, but we’ve got CCTV, so hopefully the police will be able to identify the perpetrators.

“The glass on the door had been smashed, but it was toughened glass, so the hole they made wasn’t big enough for someone to crawl through without tearing themselves to shreds.

“While they didn’t manage to steal anything, it did cost us the best part of £200 to get the glass repaired.

“It’s very annoying because people kindly donate items for us to sell and customers buy those items, spending their money for us to help the distressed, not to have to spend it on repairing damage.”

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Essex Police on 101.