Disgust as thief targets Lostwithiel charity children's clinic
PATIENTS and staff at a charity children's clinic have been left horrified after a callous break-in and theft at their Lostwithiel premises.
Some time between 7pm on the night of Thursday, March 7, and 8.30am the following morning a double-glazed window and frame were destroyed and petty cash stolen from the Children's Clinic in Market Square, Pleyber Christ Way.
Kate Hands, a cranial osteopath and principal of the clinic, said: "Glass was everywhere in the reception area.
"It was such a pointless break-in as we never leave large sums of money on the premises and our practitioners don't use drugs, but the mess was indescribable.
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"It really has pulled us all together; our patients were horrified and felt their clinic had been violated and we all worked together to get the clinic tidied up so it was business as usual."
Volunteer staff who work alongside the practitioners were faced with the task of clearing up the mess left behind following the break-in.
The Children's Clinic is a registered charity which offers safe, complementary therapies, such as cranial osteopathy and acupuncture, to children of all ages, from newborns to young adolescents, all over Cornwall.
The charity was set up to help children of low-income families receive these treatments.
"Because we're a charity and have to pay for the replacement window and glass our local carpenter, Graham Rule, has kept the cost to a minimum," said Mrs Hands.
"The building is also the home of the Lostwithiel Complementary Health Clinic, which treats all age groups and funds the clinic. This means the charity's overheads are covered and all excess income goes directly to treating children who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it.
"Having to pay to replace the window from our charitable funds is a blow, but we're grateful for everyone's support."
Jess Birmingham, one of the clinic's practitioners and Cornwall's only paediatric acupuncturist, said staff managed to meet all their existing appointments by bringing the old reception area back into action and switching round treatment rooms, but felt the break-in was a real shame.
"The thief won't have got much money," she said, "just a bit of petty cash and the donations this month for secondhand books, but it would have been used to subsidise treatments for children from low-income families.
"That's how the clinic originally came into being: to open non-conventional treatments by experienced practitioners with specific paediatric training to all children, regardless of their family's income.
"We also treat adults as well, for a really wide range of conditions and it's a lovely clinic, supported by local volunteers and really valued by those who use it."
It is believed between £15 and £20 was taken. Anyone with any information regarding the break-in is being asked to call 101 quoting crime reference number GW/13/192.