CALLOUS thieves broke into the Irish World Heritage Centre and stole two charity boxes in a New Year burglary which caused more than £2,600 worth of damages.
At least two intruders smashed their way into the multi-million pound venue in Manchester at around 1.20am last Friday, an IWHC representative told The Irish Post today.
After tearing wooden panelling off the building they smashed a back window to gain entry to the community centre, causing £2,600 in damage.
Once inside they grabbed two Macmillan cancer charity boxes from the bar area – estimated to contain between £20-50 each – before fleeing the scene.
“It just goes to show how low these people are to steal a couple of charity boxes for people who are raising money for people with serious illnesses,” IWHC Operations Manager Brian Kennedy told The Irish Post.
The centre’s security system was immediately activated by the break-in and automatically alerted the IWHC manager and Greater Manchester Police, who both arrived at the scene shortly after the thieves had fled.
“It’s an unfortunate start to the New Year,” Mr Kennedy added, “but it won’t hold us back.”
“We had had a very successful New Year’s event but then in the early hours of the Friday two people at least, or more, broke into the centre,” he confirmed.
“Thankfully the place is that well secure they were unable to take anything other than the two Macmillan boxes and we don’t know what exactly what was in them but we can only guess there was between £20 and £50 in each box.”
He added: “However the window they broke is worth £2,600 and they caused a few more hundred pounds in damages on top of that.
“But these people have been picked up on our CCTV so the police are taking action on identifying whoever they are.”
Since the incident it has been business as usual at the popular centre - which moved from its previous Queens Road home to the new Irish Town Way site in 2013 and was officially opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2014.
And the IWHC team are confident of a secure future for the state-of-the-art Irish venue.
“We have some additional security measures to take now and a few more procedures to put in place which will hopefully rid us of scum like that for the future,” Mr Kennedy added.
Greater Manchester Police, who are currently investigating the incident, confirmed: “Officers were called to the Irish World Heritage Centre in Cheetham Hill at 1.20am on Friday, January 2. After gaining entry by smashing a rear window the offender or offenders made an unsuccessful attempt to break in to an internal office. The alarm sounded and they were able to pull charity boxes from the bar before before making off unseen.”
They added: “Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should contact police.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call Greater Manchester Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.