Axe-wielding raider steals charity boxes from Killamarsh vets

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A brazen burglar smashed his way into a veterinary surgery with an axe and stole multiple charity boxes which were brimming with donations made by animal-lovers.

CCTV footage of the night-time raid, which took place at Ark Veterinary Surgery on Sheffield Road in Killamarsh, shows the man trying to break into the surgery through the front door before entering through a rear window and piling the charity boxes into his rucksack.

The boxes, which included two collection tins for the Guide Dogs, one of which was full, and a collection for a Chesterfield charity called Encounter Exotics, were the only items taken in the raid, which took place at about 1.15am on Saturday May 13.

Now, Heather Ambler, 23, a veterinary nurse at the practice, which also has a branch in Holborn Avenue, Dronfield, has vowed to recoup some of the stolen money by organising a fundraising raffle across the two sites.

Heather, who has worked for Ark for almost two years, said: "You can see it on the camera footage, he used an axe to get in.

"Thank God there was nobody on call on site at the time, that would have been terrifying."

She said the break-in had been devastating for staff, some of who gave their time in the early hours of Saturday morning to clean up the mess left behind by the burglar before starting their shift.

Heather had the idea of fundraising to replace the money while she was on holiday - so she set to work contacting local businesses and asking for their support.

"I asked some local companies if they could donate some bits and bobs which I can use to make up some goody bags which we can raffle off," she said.

So far numerous businesses have pledged their support and Heather hopes more will come forwards to donate to the cause.

"I don't know how much money was in the boxes, but I know some people put in quite a lot, especially for the Guide Dogs.

"I don't think this will put us off raising money for charity in the future. However, we will set up a policy for locking charity boxes away at night," she said.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said investigations were ongoing and the CCTV footage was being examined by officers.

He appealed for anyone who noticed anything unusual on the night of the break in to contact the force by dialling 101 and quoting the crime reference number 17000198982.