VANDALS have broken into a charity shop for the third time in six months, this time stealing a computer.
And the break-in came just hours after the Thames Hospice Care (THC) shop was damaged by fire when yobs set light to a bag of clothes left outside.
The shop, in Fairfield Road, Yiewsley, supports the charity for the terminally ill, but is now recovering from the double whammy of an estimated £400 in lost trade and the bill for repairs.
Staff were closing up the shop when they smelled burning and called the fire brigade.
Bags of clothes had been set alight and the blaze had damaged pipes at the rear of the premises. As a result, toilets for the staff were put out of use.
The shop had to close the following Saturday for repairs.
Later the same evening, thieves broke into the shop and stole a computer after smashing a rear window to gain entry.
Ros White, the shop manager, said: "This is the third time we have been broken into - first in September, then January, and now this time - it is quite scary.
"With the fire being set, our lives were put at risk.
"What the thieves may not under-stand is that they are stealing from local people. All our proceeds go straight to supporting the terminally ill in the local area around Yiewsley and West Drayton, and the people who work in-store are volunteers.
"They may think we are a large charity and we will not be affected, but we are. The computer can be replaced but at an added insurance premium for us.
"We are now looking at putting sensors on the glass frontage of the shop to prevent further break-ins, but this is likely to cost around £3,000."
The THC shop, in common with all of the borough's charity shops, is plagued by the misguided goodwill of people who leave unwanted items on the doorstep or close to the shop.
These are often thrown around by yobs, picked over by opportunists or even set on fire.
Ms White said it was important that people hand over donations during opening hours only.
"Sadly, if they are left out the back out of hours they will get stolen, damaged, or even set fire to," she said.