A CHARITY which helps vulnerable adults in York says it has been hit hard by the theft of computers worth £2,000.

The Clarence Gardens Association, known to locals as The Hut, had received a charitable donation from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to buy IT equipment to help people become more used to using technology in daily life – while shopping, in education, and to communicate with friends and families online.

But the charity, founded in 2011 to help adults with enduring mental health issues and learning disabilities increase their independence, says it was targeted by fraudsters.

Ryan Buglass, speaking on behalf of the Clarence Gardens Association, said the donation was used to buy laptops and other equipment from online company Ebuyer, which were delivered by courier company Yodel.

He said: “The following day a man arrived in what appeared to be a Yodel uniform, stating ‘there had been a mix up at Ebuyer, and you have had five desktops delivered when laptops were ordered. I am here to collect the desktops for return and your five laptops will arrive tomorrow’.”

The charity was given five returns labels and tracking ID numbers, and waited for the replacements to arrive.

Ryan said: “Given the amount of information this man had on the order, the right amount of returns labels and tracking IDs and that he was wearing what appeared to be the same uniform as worn by the previous day’s delivery man, there was no suspicion of anything untoward. “After two days when the laptops had not arrived we followed this up with Ebuyer and Yodel.”

The charity was advised by Ebuyer that an internal investigation would be carried out, incorporating an internal investigation at Yodel, but were later told they had no records of incorrect items being shipped or collected, and said the incident should be reported to police.

Ryan hopes that by highlighting their case it may prevent it happening to other organisations.

He said: “The obvious impact is that the equipment is not available to deliver the computer sessions to our members and the silent impact was that members were missing out on activities specifically designed to help improve them.”