A church in Swansea – once praised by the Prince and Princess of Wales for their outstanding outreach work – has had its foodbank robbed.
Thieves made away with all of the food, baby toys, an orange bike and items from the tuck shop during an overnight raid on St Thomas’ Church on Saturday, 3rd June.
The food bank was left with “simply no food to give out” following the attack, but the place of worship reaffirmed their commitment to forgiveness in a statement published on their Facebook page.
The statement said: “We are here to support the most vulnerable in society and the most desperate. If you find yourself in a position where the only option is to steal food from a foodbank then please get in touch well before that.
“We are a forgiving bunch and would love to support you out of that situation.”
The incident has now been reported to police, despite hesitations from the church’s leader, Rev Steve Bunting.
"I would rather them come to us and say, 'This was me, and this is why.' We might be able to help. We are so much more than food here,” he told WalesOnline.
Since the break-in, the church has been inundated with donations, both physical and financial.
It’s not the first break-in that a food bank has suffered in recent weeks. A church in Doncaster was awarded free CCTV after persistent thefts.
In one such instance, a 175-year window was broken.
Vicar at St John’s the Evangelist, Rev Derek Pamment, released a statement following the most recent attack.
He said: “After most of the food was stolen, we offered a very limited service and had to deal with tears from some truly desperate individuals.
"We are praying for the individuals who are breaking into the church.
"Not only are they breaking into a sacred space that has served the community for the last 175 years, they are creating increased costs and stealing food from some of the most needy in our community.”
It’s feared the break-ins could present a trend, with many turning to crime after struggling to make ends meet amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Instances of shoplifting have rocketed in many areas of the UK, according to experts, and theft in the workplace has jumped.
In February, insurer Zurich warned of a 19 per cent rise in the number of employees stealing from their employers.
In Scotland, headlines this week describe children as young as eight being embroiled in household burglaries, amid a significant increase the number of teenagers charged with the offence.
Swansea church food bank left with 'no food to give' after break-in