An act of “mindless thuggery” has forced a north cancer centre to cancel appointments for patients as they clean up after an early morning break-in.
Bosses of Maggie’s Highland have been left devastated following the incident, which occurred at around 3.10am this morning, as windows and doors were smashed at the Inverness base.
No items were taken, but the centre, next to Raigmore Hospital, which offers care and support to cancer sufferers and their families, has been forced to close while a deep clean is undertaken.
Maggie’s has said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had already left the charity £240,000 worse off with repair work and the installation of security and CCTV systems expected to impact funds even further.
Shards of glass from the broken doors and windows were spread throughout the building, with some found in the children’s play box as others even ended up among teabag and sugar containers.
Fundraising manager Andrew Benjamin said: “It is unbelievable.
“With everything that has been going on over the past few months with Covid, we have worked so hard to get the centre back open.
“We have worked to a stage where we can start letting people back through the doors and that has just been stopped again in its tracks.
“People need Maggie’s more than ever right now.”
Appointments have been cancelled while a thorough clean is carried out with police investigating the incident.
Mr Benjamin added: “There is a huge cost implication to Maggie’s because we are going to have to look towards getting CCTV put in.
“During Covid, we have lost £240,000 on fundraising income and to have to pay out more to have security and CCTV systems put in place does not help.
“We now won’t be able to open because of this mindless thuggery.
“We need to focus on what this actually means for people who can’t use the centre.
“People with cancer who have been waiting to come back into Maggie’s have been building themselves up to that but because we have been operating by appointment, they are now going to be affected because we have got to close the centre now for two or three days.
“Maggie’s will still be there for people in any way we can; over the phone, email and online, but the fact is people have been getting themselves ready to come back into Maggie’s and their appointments are going to have to be amended because of this.
“To see such a beautiful centre that does so much in that state – it is so upsetting and it hurts.”
Constable Cameron Ross of Burnett Road police station has appealed for anybody with any information to come forward.
He said: “Damage has been caused by this senseless and selfish act which will sadly have an impact on the services and support offered at the centre.
“Anyone who has information relating to the vandalism or saw any suspicious activity shortly before or after the incident is asked to contact police on 101.”