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Charity shop Emmaus in Rochester High Street was broken into and had £4,000 stolen

A charity shop which helps homeless people get back on their feet and into work was broken into and had £4,000 stolen.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning a man, appearing to be working alone, broke a window to the rear of Emmaus in Rochester High Street and climbed into the shop, which sells second hand furniture and household items.

He stole one safe from the upstairs office, containing £3,000. He also broke into another safe which was built into the building when it was erected around 100 years ago, and took almost £1,000 from there.

CCTV image of the burglar
CCTV image of the burglar

CCTV footage caught him in the act.

Director of Emmaus, Martin Sissons, said: "We have three tills but don't keep any money in them. He tried opening those but was obviously a bit stuck when he found they were empty. It didn't stop his destroying one of them though.

"Then he went upstairs in the office. He found the safe there, which he carried out of the building.

"He was in the building for about 40 minutes, and gave the impression he knew what he was doing. He was laid back, took his time, he was calculated. It wasn't a desperate in and out job for a bit of cash that's for sure."

Emmaus in High Street, Rochester
Emmaus in High Street, Rochester

To add to the bad luck, the charity does have insurance - but only for up to £1,000.

"We just recently moved the safe to this building for operational reasons, and were going to up our insurance when it was up next month, but were too late."

The perpetrator also took an iPhone, and a digital magnifier. Being partially sighted Mr Sissons uses that piece of equipment to see documents in the office.

"It's a unique and rare piece of device, I don't suppose this guy even knew what it was when he took it, but it's going to cost about £400 to replace."

Director of Emmaus Martin Sissons
Director of Emmaus Martin Sissons

The burglar also was not interested in damage control. Rather than leave the way he came, he went round the back and smashed down the door.

Mr Sissons added: "It was a shock coming in to find ourselves burgled. But given the strong CCTV image, police are quite hopeful of catching this guy."

A police spokeswoman said: "Kent Police is investigating a reported burglary at a charity shop in High Street, Rochester, at around 5.10am on Tuesday May 26. It is believed a man broke into the building and stole a safe containing a quantity of cash, among other items. Officers are conducting enquiries, including scouring CCTV."

If you recognise the man in the CCTV image, or have any information which could help police, call 101 and quote reference XY/18067/15.

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