Appeal after Ottery’s RIO targeted by thieves

Staff at RIO have reported another break in but hoep to highlight the work it does in the community.

Staff at RIO have reported another break in but hoep to highlight the work it does in the community. - Credit: Archant

Staff at RIO has been left ‘heartbroken’ after thieves ‘ransacked’ the centre twice in one week.

The not-for-profit organisation has had to fork out more than £500 to repair a broken window, change door locks and replace keys after thieves made away with dozens of items in the evening of September 2.

Among the stock taken included antique copper items, its office and van keys and jars of pennies staff had been collecting to give to the skate park committee.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, September 5, a kayak and bike was stolen.

The break-in closed the centre for two days while investigations were carried out. Staff says the organisation requires £1,500 a week to keep its doors open.

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Sheila Hill, one of the members of staff, described it as heartbreaking as RiO aims to help the local community by donating any profit to local causes.

She said: “Every year we do a RIO grant where people apply and our committee decided who is going to have what. We’ve donated £20,000 over the years and if we are flushed we have given more.”

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Janet McDonald-Currie added: “Primarily RIO was set up to stop things going straight into landfill and when we have a profit to give money away it is a bonus.”

RIO, which is in Station Yard, off Exeter Road, is also a drop off point to donate to the refugee appeal.

A police spokesman said the break in occurred between 4pm on Saturday, September 2, and 9.45am on September 3.

He said the thieves gained access to a cabin by smashing a window and anyone with information should email email quoting CR/075251/17.

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