Published: 00:00, 05 August 2015
| Updated: 09:42, 05 August 2015
Ramsgate Maritime Museum has reopened after an army of volunteers helped repair damage from a burglary last week.
The cost of the damage, stolen cash and artefacts is estimated at more than £10,000.
Museum volunteer Mike Houckham discovered the break-in when he came in on Tuesday last week.
He said: “It was a disaster. I walked in to find utter devastation.
"But we are open again and despite the empty cabinets and boarded up windows we are up and trading again and it is all down to the golden hearted people of Ramsgate.
"Going from devastation to reopening in a week has all been down to the volunteers who finished at about 6pm on Monday."
Mr Houckham is also part of the volunteer crew working to restore the steam tug Cervia for the past six years.
Yesterday, a crane in the harbour lifted two new masts into place on the tug and Mr Houckham said the burglary could not have happened at a worse time.
He said: “The timing was so bad – in the first week of the school holidays, it has obviously had a huge impact.
“If they had broken in during the winter we could have dealt with it, but I have had to plan working on the Cervia and repairing the museum on an hourly basis and it is all voluntary.”
The burglar let off a fire extinguisher, broke glass cabinets and stole medals before leaving the premises.
Mr Houckham said: “They broke in from the back of the museum using a handsaw to cut through the wooden bars on the glazing. The window collapsed and they got in through there.
“They used a fire extinguisher to smash the till to pieces, took cash from there and stole the charity boxes.
“The extent of the damage was crazy. The Ramsgate Society had a box with their takings, which was also taken.”
Mr Houckham is confident that the setback will not affect the summer season: “People gathered outside to watch the masts go up on The Cervia and they came in as we reopened the museum.”
Among the team of volunteers was 12-year-old Loren Adams who travelled from Brighton to assist her grandparents with the clean-up.