More than a hundred Reading residents offered money, letters and labour to a charity shop ransacked by burglars.

A total of £600 was donated in the four days after thieves ‘totally pillaged’ Sue Ryder, The Triangle, Tilehurst, while it was closed for the weekend of December 18.

Volunteers are still struggling to run the shop without a laptop stolen by the criminals, alongside £2,000-worth of cash and jewelry, but they were moved to tears by the generosity of the people of Reading.

“The public were amazing, we had loads of people coming in and donating cash. We had people donating £50 and a time and people saying ‘this is all I’ve got’,” said manager Simon Barlow.

He continued: “One of my volunteers cried, she got choked up and walked off the shop floor [because] it was so touching.”

“When someone comes in with an envelope with loose coins in and you know that – I’m feeling quite choked talking about it now – that is something they could have spent on themselves and bought their potatoes or sprouts for Christmas dinner.”

Mr Barlow said: “It was moving. I think the worst in people brings out the best in people.”

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Despite arriving at work to find a broken door, ‘horrible’ mess and an emptied safe, Mr Barlow opened the same day after a three-hour cleanup.

“They did not beat us. We we’re open at 9.30am that morning, on time. You can’t let them beat you. That instant shock, horror, clean-up, is bad enough but if you then open at midday – no.”

The safe cost £1,100 to replace and without the laptop, processing donated items takes twice as long.

Reading Chronicle: A safe which was broken into at Sue Ryder, ReadingA safe which was broken into at Sue Ryder, Reading

During what is usually the busiest time of year for the charity, Mr Barlow was forced to temporarily stop taking donations on Tuesday due to the backlog.

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“Everything that we don’t take in today will hopefully come back another day or will go to another shop and then we lose that income.

“It’s about the whole picture.”

No arrests have been made so far but police said they are continuing to investigate.

Anyone with information can call 101 quoting reference number 43210 572 242.

“I just want to thank customers for bearing with us and for understanding that things were untidy for a few days.”