A robbery at a Co Westmeath charity shop is being investigated by gardaí.
The culprits broke through two fortified doors and a security gate to force their way inside Brian’s Treasure Chest on Castle Street in Mullingar over the weekend.
The contents of collection boxes, cash donated in envelopes and the contents of the cash register were all taken. The money was being collected for the Simon Community to help its work in the area of homelessness.
The charity shop was founded six years ago by local businessman Brian Fagan. He was previously an aid worker in Yugoslavia and worked with charities such as the Romanian Children's Trust, Concern and Goal.
Mr Fagan described the theft of the funds as “despicable” and said the culprits went to great lengths to break in.
“The amount of effort that they went to by breaking in…They got through a steel door, then through a heavy wooden door and then a heavy mesh door, all bolted from the inside. They can’t be opened from the outside,” he said.
“If they were that desperate for help, all they had to do was come around to the front door and we’d have given them something.”
Mr Fagan said he wanted to “thank everyone for their kindness” since the incident.
Gardaí in Mullingar are appealing for help from the public in tracking down the burglars. They can be contacted at (044) 938400.