Elderly people at a sheltered housing scheme in Midhurst have been left feeling vulnerable and on edge after someone broke in and stole money being collected for two charities in the run-up to Christmas.
The burglary took place at around 4.30pm last Friday at Wells House in Bridgefield Close.
Resident Ray Knight said a tin containing around £15 had been taken from a charity table used to raise money which went towards taking residents on trips out, while another box put out to collect money from sales of Christmas cards was also taken.
“Whoever did it caused a lot of mess,” said Mr Knight. “They threw everything everywhere.”
He said that in the past the residents had experienced trouble with security and the doors not shutting properly.
He said it was a shame the thefts had taken place in the run-up to Christmas.
“I’m chairman of the social fund here.
“All this money goes towards me taking them out of the day, for example to the Isle of Wight.
“It costs £200 altogether and for some of them it’s the only time they can get out of the building.
“Luckily we have some money in the bank but we will have to start collecting again next year.”
Mr Knight said officers from Sussex Police went to the scene and dusted it for fingerprints while officers also spent time looking at footage from a CCTV camera.
Housing association Hyde Martlet have also been informed about what happened.
“It’s a frightening thing,” said Mr Knight. “Everybody here is old: most of the people are least 55 and there is one lady who is 92.
“There are a couple of ladies here who didn’t want to go to sleep and didn’t want to be alone on Friday night.”
Mr Knight said he had not slept well himself and that everybody was on edge after what had happened.
In a statement Sussex Police said: “Some time between 2.50pm and 5.10pm on Friday, November 25, a charity cash box in the communal area of a sheltered housing block in Bridgefield Road, Midhurst, was removed and left in the garden.
“It had been forced open and a small quantity of cash, believed to be in the region of £15, was stolen.
“Police enquiries are being made and there has been no arrest at this time.”