Heartless burglars smashed their way into a charity shop and helped themselves to a money pot.

The theft came as part of a series of break-ins into shops in north Dorset.

It was the second time this year that Weldmar Hospicecare, which provides end-of-life care to patients in Dorset, has seen one of its stores targeted.

Burglars broke a window of the Weldmar shop at The Parade, Gillingham, overnight on Tuesday, March 19.

No cash is left on the premises but thieves took a money pot, which had a small amount in it.

There were also break-ins on the same night in Gillingham at the Scope charity shop in the High Street and The Original Factory Shop in Station Road.

Just last month Weldmar had a van stolen from its Weymouth outlet.

READ MORE: 'Charity saddened and disappointed by theft of van'

A Ford Transit Box van was stolen from the Granby Industrial Estate on Sunday, February 11 at 9.15pm.

The van was used by the charity to collect and deliver items of furniture that have been purchased or donated.

A Weldmar spokesman said the charity is ‘extremely disappointed’ by this latest setback at its Gillingham shop and that money used to repair the damage will be money that should be going towards the specialist end of life care it provides.

Dorset Echo: The break-in at the Weldmar charity shop in GillinghamThe break-in at the Weldmar charity shop in Gillingham (Image: Weldmar)

The spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed that our charity has been targeted by thieves for the second time this year.

“Our Gillingham shop has been serving the local community since it opened in 1994, the same year our Inpatient Unit opened.

“The damage caused to the shop means that the money we have to spend on fixing the damage will unfortunately not be going towards the specialist end of life care that we provide in Dorset, where it should be.

“We are very grateful to all of our customers for all of their continued support, and if anyone has any information about the break-in to please report it to Dorset Police.”

A 21-year-old man from Shaftesbury has been arrested in connection with the incidents.

Dorset Echo: Break-in at the Weldmar charity shop in GillinghamBreak-in at the Weldmar charity shop in Gillingham (Image: Weldmar)

A Dorset Police spokesman said reports were received relating to commercial burglaries at three premises in Gillingham on the night of Tuesday 19 March into the morning of Wednesday 20 March 2024.

He said: “The premises involved were the Weldmar and Scope charity shops in the Hight Street and The Original Factory Shop in Station Road.

“On each occasion it was reported that windows were smashed and entry was gained but it is not believed anything was stolen.

“Following enquiries, a 21-year-old man from Shaftesbury was arrested on suspicion of burglary. He has been released on police bail as further enquiries are carried out.”