Cash donated to make dying patients’ last days more comfortable has been stolen in a hard-hearted raid.
Police are today hunting two thieves who broke into the St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham City and smashed open a collection box.
The globe-shaped receptacle contained around £200 donated by the relatives of patients with life-limiting illnesses who wanted to help support the charity’s work.
Last night police and charity bosses branded the thieves’ actions “appalling”.
Fiona Vallis, clinical manager at the hospice, on Park Road said: “This is a deeply unsettling event and an insult to those who have generously donated to the work of the hospice.
“Not only have these people stolen from the hospice and its patients, they have also stolen from all the people who donated the money.”
Two men broke into the building at around 8.30pm on Wednesday and smashed the large free-standing charity box.
They were confronted by staff and fled, taking the money with them.
Police are now appealing for help to find the men. One is described as white, around 6ft tall, of thin build, between 30 and 40 and fair-haired. The other is also white, in his late 20s to early 30s, of slim build and around 5ft 7ins tall.
PC Sarah Douglas of Durham Police said: “To break into a hospice while terminally ill patients are lying in bed and to cause such a disturbance is appalling and shocking.”
The hospice is now reviewing its security arrangements.
Fiona added: “Fortunately this is the first time we can remember anything like this occurring and our security arrangements meant that only a small amount of cash was stolen.”
Anyone with information about the break in, or who thinks they know who the men are, should call Durham Police on 101.