Early morning raid on children's centre

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

BURGLARS smashed their way into a well-used children’s centre to steal three mobile phones and a small amount of cash.

Police believe Florence Park Children’s Centre in Rymers Lane was targeted at about 6.30am on Sunday and raiders caused damage to a door breaking into the office in the building.

One window was also smashed.

The centre, run by Oxfordshire County Council, was forced to cancel a parenting group on Monday as a result but went ahead with its stay and play group indoors.

Owen Morton, county council spokesman, said: “Repairs will be needed, and this will inevitably cost money – but it’s unclear how much.

“Thankfully, this has not had a huge impact on services, but criminal activity of this nature is obviously to be deplored and it’s a shame a centre for helping young families has been targeted in this way.”

The children’s centre is home to a range of groups and programmes including a support group for parents of children with special needs, baby groups, childminders support ground, parenting courses and adult education activities.

Mum-of-two Abi Simmons, acting chairman of Friends of Florence Park, said: “I would hope that people would have a few morals about them.

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“The centre supports a lot of families round here.

“I know a lot of friends that use the centre. It is well-used.”

Labour city councillor Helen O’Hara, who represents Cowley, said: “It is very shocking that somebody has chosen to do something like that to break into a children’s centre.

“I hope that there will be some progress with finding out who has done it and hopefully recovering the property.

“Many of the people using the centre will be in need of the support so it is sad and disappointing that this has happened.”

County councillor John Sanders said: “It must have been a shock for the people there and they have got my sympathy.

“I hope it hasn’t been too badly damaged.”

Anyone with information should contact PC Gareth Herniman on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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