St Albans charity shop raid leaves fundraisers heartbroken

PUBLISHED: 12:17 01 February 2019

Mohammed Akhtar at his charity shop in Hatfield Road, St Albans, which was burgled overnight. Picture: DANNY LOO

Mohammed Akhtar at his charity shop in Hatfield Road, St Albans, which was burgled overnight. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

The chairman of a charity for deaf children has been left devastated after his St Albans charity shop was raided last night.

The smashed till at Kadect charity shop in Hatfield Road, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOThe smashed till at Kadect charity shop in Hatfield Road, St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Charity Shop in Hatfield Road belongs to Kadect, which stands for Kashmiri and African Deaf Children’s Trust.

Charity chairman Mohammed Akhtar turned up this morning to find the premises had been turned upside down and the till had been smashed.

He told the Herts Ad; “It makes me feel really sad.

“There wasn’t very much in the till, only a float.

“When you think of disabled children, something like this breaks your heart.

“The till isn’t very old and when I bought it, it cost £400.

“It will cost more to replace the till than what was in it.

“At minimum you’re looking at £500.”

Burglars got in by removing one of the panels from the door.

The last time the shop was broken into was about 12 years ago.

Mr Akhtar added: “All the local people know us.

“We’re next to Tesco.

“My motivation in speaking out about the break-in is to make people aware of what sort of people are about - people who have no heart.”

Mr Akhtar set up Kadect in 2002 after being born in Kashmir in northern Pakistan and having fathered a daughter who is deaf.

In 2004, he set up a school in Kashmir and it was only while he was on holiday in Gambia he realised the poverty the children had to live with.

Before Kadect, Gambia only had one school for deaf children in its capital, which restricted access for people living on the south side of the river which divides the country.

The charity’s trustees decided to open a school for Gambia’s deaf children in the town of Basse, south of the river, which has now been running for a number of years.

Mr Akhtar is grateful for the support the charity receives from the people of St Albans.

He said; “We have been very lucky here to have two shops and we have raised quite a good amount through both shops over the years.

“People are very kind, bringing things in and buying things.”

A Herts Police spokeswoman said; “Police are investigating a burglary that happened in St Albans.

“Between 5pm yesterday (Thursday, January 31) and 9am this morning (Friday, February 1), offender(s) gained access to the Kashmir Deaf Children’s Trust charity shop in Hatfield Road.

“They caused damage to the front door and took a till which contained a quantity of cash.

“An untidy search was also carried out. Any witnesses or anyone with information should contact Hertfordshire Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101, quoting ISR 184 of February 1.”

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