THIEVES broke into a micropub and stole hundreds of pounds set aside for an upcoming charity event.

The Convivial Rabbit in Trinity Street, Dorchester was broken into during the early hours – and proceeds from the ticket sales for the 2020 Dorchester Beerex were stolen.

The popular beer festival is held each February in the town’s Corn Exchange and aims to raise money for local good causes.

It is organised by the West Dorset CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) in association with Casterbridge Rotary Club.

The Convivial Rabbit is among the outlets selling tickets for the festival.

Nigel Baker who runs the micropub with his wife Nicky said the couple were left feeling

‘violated’ and ‘devastated’ by the break-in.

He said: “Nicky and myself felt sickened on Sunday morning when we arrived at the pub.

“We felt violated by the intrusion and devastated that money going to charitable causes was targeted, particularly at this time of year.”

Mr Baker added: We have just celebrated our third year of

trading and are delighted to sell Beerex tickets to help raise valuable funds for a local charity.”

Les Fry, Chairman of Dorchester Beerex, said: “This break-in at the Convivial Rabbit is very disappointing for proprietors Nigel and Nicky Baker and all members of the

Beerex organising team who work extremely hard to raise much needed funds for our nominated charity, which this year is Dorset Mind

“We hope that whoever stole the money from the ticket sales will reflect on their actions and return the money.”

He said any information leading to the recovery of the money would be ‘greatly appreciated’.

A total of £540 of ticket money was taken plus the contents of two other charity collection boxes.

The money would have gone towards supporting the community event and its main charity Dorset Mind, which actively helps people with mental health problems in Dorset.

The thieves broke into the micropub by cutting through security bars over a window to gain entry, and then set about hunting out the money which was well hidden inside. No drinks or other items were stolen.

Organisers of Beerex are urging other small businesses in the Dorchester area to be vigilant of their security measures and anybody with information leading to the recovery of the money to contact Dorset Police. Customers who have still to purchase their tickets for the beer festival may still do so at the Convivial Rabbit, Bakers Arms, Brace of Butchers, The Dog House (Weymouth) or online via