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Thieves steal hundreds of pounds from Wildwood Discovery Park near Canterbury

Heartless thieves have ransacked the premises of a wildlife charity and made off with hundreds of pounds in donations.

Wildwood Discovery Park, near Canterbury, says its staff and volunteers were "heart-broken" to discover the break-in, which happened between Sunday night and early on Monday morning.

The thieves smashed a door and raided the trust's shop, forcing open tills and stealing donations which had been collected for its baby dormice appeal.

The charity has lost hundreds of pounds in donations (9853018)
The charity has lost hundreds of pounds in donations (9853018)

Wildwood's appeals officer, Sarah Anstee, said: "This vile act of stealing money donated for our vital conservation efforts that was so generously given by our supporters is beyond despicable."

The trust, which has a conservation team dedicated to breeding dormice as part of a national programme, is now appealing to its supporters to help replace the lost funds.

It has bred more than 170 dormice and successfully re-introduced them to woodlands, but says that without help, the species faces almost certain extinction.

Baby dormice (9853015)
Baby dormice (9853015)

"We are hoping Wildwood's supporters will rally to our aid and help us continue our conservation work to save the dormouse," Ms Anstee continued.

Police have been notified of the burglary.

Wildwood, which is located in Wealden Forest between Canterbury and Herne Bay, is also home to deer, badgers, wild boar and wolves.

Donations to the charity's dormouse appeal can be made at the park or donating online.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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