The ‘West End Extra’ reports;
“THIEVES stole thousands of pounds worth of fridges and freezers packed full of food for pensioners during a raid on a community hall.
The recent break-in at the Churchill Gardens Estate took place three months after its door was smashed in by police responding to reports of a stabbing in the Pimlico hall, which turned out to be a hoax call.
The damage to the entrance meant that the centre was left without a functioning alarm system and exposed to criminals.
Sue Walsh, chairwoman of the residents’ association, said: “We’d just done a shop and we had two freezers that were full to the gunwales with bacon, sausages, meat for pies, stuff that we use for their lunches.
“We couldn’t put the alarm system on until the doors were put back on and word must have got around, because somebody broke in the back door and they raided our kitchen and stole all the appliances and all the food that we had for the pensioners. I’ve been battling the police to try and get them to make a contribution.
“We’re a charity, now left with a £3,000 bill for new doors.
“For some of these people it’s the only meal that they get because they don’t cook for themselves in the evening.
“But we haven’t been defeated, we’ve managed to get little cookers and we’re still providing the lunch. We’re not going to be beaten by it.”
Belgravia police tracked down the hoax call which was made during the August bank holiday weekend, but discovered it was made from a pay-as-you-go phone and could not take further action. Thieves were able to break in unnoticed because the broken doors meant the alarm system could not be restarted.
Ms Walsh said the police should have done more to help, adding: “Thieves took everything and it was generally left in mayhem.
“If the police had helped us with the doors it may not have come to that.”
The doors were finally replaced last week and the alarm has now been reinstalled.
Ms Walsh said: “It’s just an expense that we can’t afford. We are being pressured to pay our bills and keep up to date with the hall, and then we get setbacks like this.”
The Met police did not respond to request for a comment.”