17th Jan, 2019

'Heartless' thieves break into Solo centre in Chelmsley Wood

Sarah Mason 29th Nov, 2017

A ‘HEARTLESS’ thief broke into and stole items from a Solihull learning disability charity just three weeks after it opened a new part of its Chelmsley Wood headquarters.

Thieves smashed a window on the new extension of the Solihull Life Opportunities (Solo) centre in Walnut Close at around 9.30pm on November 23.

It is believed thieves stole a number of items including a petrol lawnmower and a flat screen smart tv from the site.

The extension was built after an extensive fundraising campaign by the charity which supports children and adults with learning disabilities.

Speaking to The Observer Deb Jones, the operational leader for adult day services, said she was devastated when she found out the centre had been broken into.

She added: “It takes a heartless person to do such a despicable thing.

“It is heartbreaking that some could do this to a local charity that benefits the most vulnerable members of the local community., particularly at this time of year.”

Every day a number of clubs and activities including after school clubs, a disco for adults and day sessions, even the day after the burglary.

Deb added: “Activities continued as normal but we were in a mad panic.

“We didn’t want to upset anyone. The window has been boarded up and it was all hands on deck to sweep up the glass and get an old TV in from the activity room.

“We’re trying to minimise the stress.”

The team at Solo said it will have to bring in measures, such as electric shutters or grills covering the windows, in an attempt to prevent the centre from being targeted in the future.

Deb said: “We now need a new window, and – although we didn’t want to do this – we may have to put grills on.

“We will now have to consider diverting some of our financial resources to securing the property with window grills, something we previously reluctant to do as we wanted the premises to be homely.

“If any security company, or indeed private donor can help us with this sadly necessary precaution we would be hugely grateful.”

West Midlands Police said they received a report that a burglary had taken place at Solo.

Anyone with information about the burglary should contact 101 giving reference 20SH/254023K/17.

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