THIEVES in West Belfast have sunk to a new low after a Northern Ireland Hospice shop was robbed in Andersonstown.
The premises – situated in Slemish Way – only opened for business in April. The shop was broken into sometime between 5pm on Tuesday and 9am yesterday (Wednesday) and a sum of money was taken. Entry was gained to the premises through a small window at the back of the shop.
Speaking yesterday to the Andersonstown News, shop manager Joanne Kane said the shop will be reviewing its security.
“What has happened won’t deter us and we will do twice as much to make up the money that was stolen,” said Joanne. “Since we opened the shop the welcome and donations we have received have been fantastic and people from the area have been so supportive toward us. We have a fantastic team of volunteers helping us and this has been very disappointing for them and myself. We will reviewing our security immediately to ensure this does not happen again.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Matt Garrett hit out angrily, denouncing the robbers as “a disgrace”.
“Local businesses and people are finding it tough enough at the minute and it’s shops like these that enable people to come by, maybe pick up clothes, furniture and other household items at a reasonable, affordable price,” he said. “And of course all the profits from the Hospice shop go directly back to the Hospice to enable them to carry out the vital and compassionate work that they do 365 days a year.
“I have had members of my own family receive Hospice care – as have so many other people in this community – and I have seen at first hand the excellent and inspirational work they do.
“If culprits target a shop like this, then where will they stop? They are nothing short of a disgrace and I would appeal to all local shopkeepers and keyholders to be conscious of their security as it is clear from this incident that these people will stop at nothing.”
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Enquiries are ongoing and police would ask anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area to contact them at Woodbourne on 0845 600 8000. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”