St Albans homelessness charity comes to aid of burgled charity shop

Mohammed Akhtar at his charity shop in Hatfield Road, St Albans, which was burgled overnight. Pictur

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

A homelessness charity came to the aid of a St Albans charity shop for deaf children after it was raided by burglars.

The Charity Shop in Hatfield Road, which belongs to Kashmiri and African Deaf Children’s Trust (or Kadect), was burgled on Thursday, January 31.

The following day, charity chairman Mohammed Akhtar arrived at the shop to find burglars had removed one of the panels from the door, the premises had been ransacked and the till had been smashed.

After hearing about the ordeal, St Albans-based homelessness charity Emmaus Hertfordshire donated a till to replace Kadect’s smashed one. The till was presented to Mr Akhtar by a resident who has experienced homelessness and is now being supported by Emmaus.

Speaking about the donation, Mr Akhtar said: “I would like to thank Emmaus Hertfordshire for helping us out. It is very much appreciated, and it means we can now get up and running again with a new till.

“Everyone in the wider community has been very helpful and kind, offering money and donations to help us out.”

Following the burglary, Mr Akhtar told the Herts Ad that the till itself was worth around £400, and would cost more to replace than its contents.

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Emmaus Hertfordshire’s business development manager Jennifer Hewson said: “As a charity shop ourselves, we could imagine the impact this robbery would have had on Kadect and therefore we knew we needed to help.

“It was great that we were able to donate one of our old tills that we used for training and hope it helps them get back on their feet.”

Mr Akhtar, who was born in Kashmir in northern Pakistan, set up Kadect in 2002, after fathering a daughter who is deaf.

In 2004, he set up a school in Kashmir and while on holiday in Gambia he realised there was only one school for deaf children in its capital, with restricted access for people living on the south side of the river.

Kadect’s trustees then opened another school for Gambia’s deaf children in the town of Basse, south of the river, which has been running for a number of years.

Police are still investigating the burglary on the night of January 31st, and anyone with information is asked to call Herts Police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting ISR 184 of February 1.