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Safe raided at Mermaid & Miller co-operative for disabled
THIEVES broke into a shop which helps train disabled people in York and raided the safe.
The offenders have been condemed as “shameful” after they targeted Mermaid & Miller, a not-for-profit shop and co-operative in Swinegate, which sells art created by people with disabilities, and also helps train people with disabilities to work in the public sector.
They broke in overnight on Monday and took money from the safe, leaving a back room in disarray, but thankfully not damaging the shop.
Shopworker Julia Vaughan, 22, was the first to discover the burglary, when she unlocked the store at 9am on Tuesday.
She said: “It’s awful and the guys work really hard at the shop. All the things are made by disabled people, so for someone to come in and steal money from it is shameful.
“We have been really lucky as we’ve just had a card machine installed, so most of the money had been got through that.
“But the float and petty cash was taken, so in excess of £100.”
Volunteer trainees Katie Douglas, Rachel Griffiths and George Cornish all said they were “shocked” at the theft, and “never would have imagined anyone doing something like this”.
Angela Taylor, the shop manager, said: “We think they got in through the joint entrance at the side of the shop, but we have been lucky there has been no damage to the store.
“It could be a lot worse. We are obviously lucky there was no damage but at the same time it’s a real blow in terms of our takings for the week. That’s a significant amount for us.”
The majority of profits from items sold in the shop go directly to the artists and co-operative members, with roughly a third going back to keeping the shop open.
Angela said: “It will take £300 worth of sales to recoup what we’ve lost so people who stole from us obviously don’t realise we’re a not-for-profit organisation not some major supermarket.”
PC Thomas Tate, of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This is a shocking burglary. Stealing from a business aimed at supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community is disgraceful.
“If you have any information which could help to identify those responsible, I urge you to contact the police straight away.”
Anyone with information should phone York police on 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
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