A woman running a community food bank has spoken of her disappointment after all the cash was taken and the shelves cleared out overnight.
The Torry Community Larder on Wood Street is run by local residents and began operating at the beginning of the pandemic.
It is regularly used by anyone in the area experiencing food poverty and has been a lifeline for some during this difficult year.
But its shelves were left almost bare on Sunday morning after someone visited the larder during the night and cleared it out – leaving only some nappies and rice.
“I check on it every day and on Sunday I saw that it had been totally cleaned out,” said resident Jayne Carmichael Norrie, who set up the larder last year.
“The night before there were at least eight bags of dried pasta there and seven tins of veg and lots of other bits.
“But the only thing that was left was a few nappies and a bag of brown rice, everything else was completely gone.
“I leave a little tin of spare change in the larder too in case folk need to buy some fresh milk or something, but someone had taken the whole tin.
“Not just the money, but the tin too. And I thought, ‘are you kidding me?’ it’s a bit ridiculous.
“Obviously I don’t want to judge anybody for taking eight bags of pasta, maybe you are feeding an army, but I’m just a bit sceptical that someone needed all that.”
This is the first time the community larder has been abused in this way since it was set up last year.
However, after posting an appeal on Facebook, the shelves were fully stocked again within an hour with donations from other kind-hearted Torry residents.
When lockdown began back in March 2020, Jayne was concerned that residents in Torry might struggle to get enough food to feed their families, and so decided to set up a small food bank on her street.
“A lot of folk do shift work and that kind of thing and I knew that lots of people had been made redundant or put on furlough,” she said.
“I’d also heard that some of the normal foodbanks couldn’t open anymore because people weren’t allowed to be inside buildings together, so the normal ways people might get support weren’t open to them anymore.
“I thought well if you’re really stuck, there’s not a lot of choices for people.”
She dug out an old set of shelves from the back of her shed and placed them on the street in front of her house, then went to Aldi and picked up a few basic items and put them out.
Later Jayne posted a message on a Torry community page on Facebook, letting residents know that the service was there if they needed it.
“I thought it would just be me and my husband who would maintain it, so I was really surprised at the response from others,” Jayne said.
“People chat to me all the time and say they always keep an eye on the shelves to see if it’s running low.
“It tends to get used a lot more at the end of the month.
“I guess as people are waiting for pay day they are needing a little bit of extra help.
“This first time I’ve been a bit down about it and thought someone was just taking advantage.”
After discovering the empty shelves, Jayne posted a message to Facebook asking if anyone had any spare food they could donate.
Within the hour there was food on the shelves again and residents were as disappointed as Jayne to see the larder abused.
One social media user said: “Shame when you get real genuine people needing a small bit of help.”
Another wrote: “There seems to be a group of people in Torry that are spoiling things for others, damaging cars, giving folk verbal abuse, frightening people and stone throwing to name a few things. Come on parents, get the kids to respect others please.”
The news of the ransacked larder comes as bus operators Stagecoach confirm they have pulled evening services in Torry after stones were thrown at buses driving through the area at night.
It is understood that the incidents have involved windows being smashed.
Councillor for Torry and Ferryhill, Audrey Nicoll, said: “The community larder has supported people in Torry for a long time thanks to local folks making sure it is always well stocked.
“While this incident is really disappointing, the speed with which the larder was replenished shows the kindness and generosity of people who came together quickly to make sure others using the larder didn’t lose out”.