STAFF and volunteers at a charity shop have been left horrified after the store was broken into and the safe ransacked.

Several days of takings, a float of money for volunteers to use for drinks, and some jewellery waiting to be priced were stolen from the Age UK store in Brighton.

The door of the charity shop, in St George’s Road, Kemp Town, was also badly damaged in the burglary.

Steve Hare, chief executive of Age UK in East Sussex, said the burglary and the loss of business was a real blow to the charity.

The Argus: The charity shop's entrance was damaged in the burglaryThe charity shop's entrance was damaged in the burglary

He said: “This has been very upsetting to everyone here at the charity, especially as we rely heavily on the income from our shops to keep our services running.

“This is a huge loss at a time when we are all trying very hard to continue providing services for our older community locally, and the income from our charity shops helps us to provide funding for those services.

“I would like to say thank you to all the staff and volunteers who are helping to clean up the mess as quickly as possible, so we can open the shop to the public again.”

The charity has put out an urgent plea to help raise funds to cover the costs of repair, loss of business and what was stolen in the burglary.

The Argus: The Age UK store in Kemp TownThe Age UK store in Kemp Town

It comes just months after another Age UK store was targeted for attack, with a branch in Lewes Road in Brighton having its window smashed in November last year.

A police spokesman said: “Police were called to a report of a burglary at the Age UK shop in St George’s Road, Brighton, at around 1.25am on Monday.

“Enquiries have identified two suspects who have broken into the store, conducted a messy search and stolen items and cash.

“Officers carried out a comprehensive search of the area but could not locate either suspect.

“A full investigation is underway and enquiries continue.”

Those who want to make a donation to the charity on the charity’s East Sussex website.