STAFF and volunteers at a charity shop in Dorchester have been left distraught after vandals damaged the store.

The window of the Cats Protection store in Great Western Road was damaged overnight, causing the shop to be closed while shards of glass were cleared up.

Branch co-ordinator for the charity Gloria Ashwell said that it appeared that a brick had been put through the window and the damage was discovered when staff arrived at the shop in the morning.

She said: “The police had left a note telling us they had made the place safe.

“We have just been clearing up all the glass and such like.

“It’s a real nuisance because we couldn’t open the shop to the public because there are so many little shards of glass all over the place.

“It’s quite a careful clear up job.”

Mrs Ashwell said she did not believe the charity, formerly known as the Cats Protection League, had been deliberately targeted.

She said it was particularly frustrating because every pound spent in the shop went to support the work of the charity in the local area and the effects of the damage would impact on that.

Mrs Ashwell said: “It’s quite a big blow.

“It’s upsetting, it’s expensive and it’s just pure vandalism.”

Mrs Ashwell said that she was backing calls for anyone who saw or heard anything, or has any information about the incident, to contact the police.

She added that the Cats Protection shop now had bins outside it where people could drop off donations of goods for the store to sell but these did not appear to have been targeted in the incident.

The store opened in 2012 and stocks a large range of cat themed items as well as general items.

Proceeds raised go to help the work of the Weymouth and District branch of Cats Protection, which works to foster and care for unwanted and stray cats in the local area and find them new homes.