Thieves target Silverburn charity office

Duncan Mitchell of Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) is dismayed that the offices within Silverburn Park have been burgled twice in the last week.
Duncan Mitchell of Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) is dismayed that the offices within Silverburn Park have been burgled twice in the last week.

The manager of a Fife charity whose Leven premises was broken into twice in the space of a week says he feels “disheartened” after being targeted by criminals.

Duncan Mitchell, manager of the Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) on Silverburn Estate in Leven, said money and equipment was taken during the robberies – both of which took place on a Thursday night.

He said: “The first break-in happened on Thursday, July 21, when they took cash and also stole some Go Pro cameras that we had.

“The police had launched an enquiry into it so we thought that was it done with and we’d got past it and then the second break-in occurred exactly a week later on July 28.”

FEAT, which works with Fifers who have suffered from mental health issues to help them find employment, had replaced the money that was stolen during the first robbery, but during the second robbery it was stolen.

Duncan said: “The money was all taken again and they also took a tablet.

“They caused a bit of damage by breaking into cupboards to see what they could find but there was nothing in there except paperwork.

“They had come in through the back in the first robbery and we had boarded up the window that they had broken, but they came in through a different window the second time and caused considerable damage to the frame of the window.”

The money which was stolen by the thieves was set aside to reimburse the travel expenses of the charity’s volunteers.

Duncan said: “Our volunteers, who work with us to help out in the local community, are mostly unemployed so they can’t afford to travel here when they come to help out so we give them their bus or train fares.

“It’s good for them to have something to do with their time while they are looking for work, and we can give them something to eat and drink when they’re here too.

“Obviously the help they give us is great, so when something like this happens, I find it very disheartening.”

He added: “The Silverburn area has been left to become a bit run down over the years and we’re making efforts to help.

“We have a building which we are refurbishing and we’ve been working hard to tidy up in the woodlands and garden and we rely on our volunteers, so something like this affects them.

“Most of them are really upset about this. It’s very hard to take.

“You wonder why someone would steal from a charity.

FEAT will now take steps to heighten its security at the Silverburn building.”

Duncan pledged: “From now on we won’t have any cash or electronic equipment on the premises overnight. We’ll take away anything of value now and we’ll be increasing security on the premises.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland urged anyone with information to come forward.

He said: “We are appealing for witnesses following these break-ins.

“Inquiries are ongoing.”

The volunteers have now launched an appeal to help ensure the Silverburn Festival, due to take place on August 13, can still go ahead.

They have already secured sponorship from local businesses for the marquee and PA system, however they have launched a ‘Sponsor a band’ appeal which they hope local businesses will get involved with.

They are hoping sponsorship of each band will be between £50 and £100, and in return, an announcement will be put on the group’s Facebook page and a mention given on the day.

If you’d like to get involved, go to the Facebook page.