A community project helping veterans in the community has been targeted by burglars.

Police have appealed for information following a break-in at The Veterans’ Forge Community Interest Company.

Students from Kingston Maurward College near Dorchester who were due to use the forge for a training day ended up helping to tidy up the mess following the break-in.

The forge, based at Oakwood Farm, near Corfe Castle, helps veterans and students learn blacksmith skills and the raiders stole items including machines and tools.

The burglary took place between 8pm on Tuesday, November 6 and midday the following day when offenders forced entry to a gate and barn door.

The project, which has been running for less than a year, offers therapeutic sessions to veterans from all over the county as well as training for local students.

They visit for one or two days as part of therapy for mental or physical disabilities.

It was set up by William Spicer, who said: “This is going to make life very difficult for us.

“They took three welders and a generator and it will cost at least £2,500 to replace the items that were taken.

“We are a not-for-profit organisation and coming to the beautiful Dorset countryside and learning a new skill really helps people.”

He said students from Kingston Maurward College who were due to use the forge yesterday have been helping to tidy up and repair damage following the raid.

Police are investigating and forensics teams have visited the site to search for clues.

PC Tom Renshaw, of Purbeck police, is appealing for anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area to get in contact.

He said: “This has caused a great deal of upset and inconvenience to a project that is trying to support veterans and the local community and we are determined to identify those responsible.

“I am appealing for anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area on the night of Tuesday 6 November to contact police.

“I would also like to hear from anyone who comes across specialist blacksmith tools or equipment being offered for sale in unusual circumstances.”

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to call Dorset Police on 101, quoting occurrence number 55180180224.

Or alternatively they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.