RAIDERS smashed their way into a charity's store and stole supplies destined to help the homeless in Swindon.

The garage at the back of Argyle Street where The Night Kitchen Swindon was storing food, clothing and bedding was targeted in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Thieves stole £300 of goods the volunteer group had intended to distribute to those living on the streets this winter.

Founder and committee member Kevin Maddison found the damage.

He said: “I‘m just disgusted.

“To break into a property and steal things is one thing, but to steal critical items used to keep vulnerable and homeless people fed when they are starving, and warm when it’s so cold and they are on streets at the moment, is another thing.

“It’s worse than the burglary itself,” he said.

The raiders ripped the lock off the door to gain entry and damaged the garage door.

They emptied the freezer where the group had been stock piling food ahead of Christmas.

“We’re a voluntary group,” added Kevin.

“We just don’t have the money to simply be able to go out any buy more stuff.”

The owner of the garage who volunteers with the group was alerted to the break in after a passer-by said they saw two men loading items into a dark car at around 3.15am.

The witness phoned the police and posted a note to the owner encouraging them to check the garage.

Kevin, who had already spent Wednesday night collecting and distributing donations, received a call from the owner and arrived at the garage at 5.20am.

“I was just in shock and disbelief when I got there,” he said.

“The door was already open and I could see looking through the gap that the door to the freezer was open and all the drawers were empty.

“The donated items, clothing, bedding, tents were disturbed and various boxes had been opened.

“I believe this witness who saw the two people disturbed them, and had the witness not been there when they were, we would have lost a lot more,” he added.

The Night Kitchen is a volunteer run group which provides free hot meals and clothing to the homeless on Thursday evenings from a stall on Edgeware Road.

They feed around 60 people each week, and rely on donations from the public and local supermarkets.

“I hope whoever has done this has got a conscience,” said Kevin.

“And realises what they’ve done and the effect they have had.”

He added: “A lot of people are going to suffer because of this.

“We’re going to struggle to get enough donations to replace everything in the short space of time before Christmas.”

The group has seen a big increase in requests for bedding and clothing from rough sleepers in the past month.

“It's because of the adverse weather conditions at the moment,” said Kevin.

The police were called after the break-in but did not attend.

“They said there was no viable evidence left at the scene.

“But how they’ve got to that assumption when they’ve not been out, I don’t know,” said Kevin.

A spokesperson for the police said: “Due to time having passed since the incident took place and there being no CCTV, no forensic opportunities or suspect vehicle details, the incident has been closed unless any further lines of enquiry come to light, which we will then investigate.

Kevin thanked everyone who had supported the group after the incident.

Anyone with information should call 101.