HEARTLESS thieves left volunteers at a charity shop “absolutely gutted” after they stole money, jewellery and damaged the roof of the building.

Staff at the PDSA animal charity shop in North Street, Taunton, turned up for work on Saturday morning to find damage to the second floor roof and shop items strewn across the floor.

Sue Monnelly, who has been one of the managers for ten years, said there has been substantial damage to her shop and could not believe what had happened.

She said: “I am absolutely gutted - we are here to help people with their sick pets and I am just distraught that someone could do this to a charity.

“I don't think these people have thought what effect it will have.”

The shop, which helps raise money for sick and injured pets, was closed on Saturday as forensics officers assessed the building and Sue wanted to apologise to people who had hoped to use the shop.

She said: “I am sorry people were disappointed that they couldn't come in to purchase or to donate items - we may have lost out on around £1,000 worth of donations on the day.

“We are unable to say how much is has affected the business at this stage but if people do have donations of bric-a-brac, clothing or furniture it would really help support us at this sad time.”

Avon and Somerset Police say the culprits used metal steps at the back of the property to gain access to the second floor roof before entering the building.

They believe the burglary took place between 6pm on Friday and 7.30am on Saturday morning and say a small amount of change was taken along with items of jewellery and damage to their shop.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information or witnesses should call 101, quoting the crime reference number 21047/14.