A teenager has been arrested and charged following the burglary of a newsagent in Bedlington which left the owner facing financial ruin.
The 15-year-old is due to appear at South East Northumberland Magistrates Court on November 29.
Thousands of pounds worth of stock was stolen which allegedly included three charity boxes, a laptop and spirits when thieves targeted the shop overnight on Friday, November 1.
Chris Charlton opened the newsagents in 2012 after losing his job at the now defunct Alcan factory, in nearby Ashington.
He and his wife Irene thought their troubles were behind them, but said their business could go under if the insurance pay-out falls short of the amount that is needed to help them restart.
Mr Charlton, 52, said: “We didn’t fancy our prospects of going on the dole or struggling to find another job so we put everything into the shop.
“We shut up shop on Friday night and returned to find the place had been turned upside down on Saturday morning.
“When we walked behind the counter we saw the carnage – everything had just been trashed.
“We don’t know where we will go from here. The likelihood is we will have to sell up.”
The shop on Park Avenue is a favourite among locals and Mr Charlton says the local community has been extremely supportive following the burglary.
A laptop which disappeared contained personal and business files belonging to Mr Charlton. An amount of cash was also taken in the raid.
He says the worst part of the ordeal was the loss of the three charity boxes.
“These boxes were for the blind, St Oswald’s and True Heroes,” he said.
“This month is about remembering our heroes not stealing from them.
“When I lost my job at Alcan it felt like the end of the world, but I pulled myself back up and my wife and I are proud of what we’d achieved.
“My wife is not in the best of health and she was inconsolable when she walked into the shop to find it had been turned upside down.
“I hope the lowlife responsible for this is brought to justice.”