1. ITV Report

Hundreds could go hungry after vandals break into West End foodbank

The UK's busiest foodbank has been forced to close its doors after vandals broke in and destroyed its main hand-out point. Credit: @WEFoodbank

The UK's busiest foodbank has been forced to close its doors after vandals broke in and destroyed its main hand-out point.

Hundreds of people could be left hungry as a result of the devastating break-in, which took place at the Church of the Venerable Bede on the West Road, Newcastle - where Newcastle West End Foodbank dispatch food.

Over £1000 worth of damage was caused by the thugs, who smashed windows and sprayed fire extinguishers, meaning that poverty-stricken families could not collect their food allowance.

Damage to windows at the foodbank Credit: @WEFoodbank

We opened the doors at around 8:30am this morning and found that the church hall was in a real mess. The first thing we noticed was a fire extinguisher in the middle of the room surrounded by a puddle of foam.

Then we noticed that the medical cupboards had been emptied and destroyed in the foam, and the metal extinguisher had been used to break some of the windows."

– Foodbank manager Micheal Nixon
Vandals set off a fire extinguisher Credit: @WEFoodbank

They had also used the extinguisher to hammer their way into some of the cupboards. The vandals must also have managed to get onto the roof, and smashed in some of the actual church windows as well.

There is an enormous mess. We could not possibly have opened today because with broken glass on the floor and the mess everywhere it is simply not a safe enough environment to have families coming in.

We are really hoping we can open up again on Thursday, but if not then there will be at least a few hundred people affected and going hungry.

It is a significant problem."

– Foodbank manager Micheal Nixon
Vandals have broken windows at the West End foodbank Credit: @WEFoodbank

The foodbank, which opened in March 2013, has grown to be the largest foodbank in the UK, feeding more than 40,000 people in last year.

A spokesperson from Northumbria Police said:

At around 9.55am this morning police received a report that windows had been smashed and entry gained to the foodbank based at Venerable Bede church on Benwell Grove.

The incident is believed to have taken place at around 9.45am this morning. Nothing is believed to have been taken during the burglary but significant damage has been caused.

Enquiries into the incident are ongoing and police are now appealing for any witnesses to the burglary to get in touch.

Anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously around the building, or anyone with information about those responsible, should call police"

– Police statement