Anguish as toys for needy kids stolen

River Kids co-ordinator Wendy Simpson, centre, with colleagues Clare Duff and Fiona Mcleod

River Kids co-ordinator Wendy Simpson, centre, with colleagues Clare Duff and Fiona Mcleod

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A CHILDREN’S charity which gives toys to needy youngsters has been targeted by thieves.

River Kids is hundreds of pounds out of pocket after the Uphall depot used to store its toys was broken into.

Now, a fundraiser has been organised by contestants from Miss West Lothian in an attempt to raise funds to replace them.

Charity co-ordinator Wendy Simpson said: “It’s upsetting – I don’t understand how somebody could do something like this. They’ve stolen brand new toys we had just bought, they just broke the window and stole what they could.”

The value of the toys – which included dolls, arts and crafts and board games – was £200, but more will have to be destroyed having being showered with shards of glass from the smashed window.

Set up in 2005, Livingston-based River Kids provides Christmas and birthday gifts for children whose parents cannot afford them, through the West Lothian Toy Appeal.

“As a charity we get references from social services, the families we work with are below the poverty line – people who might, at Christmas, have to choose between the food on the table or the presents,” said Wendy.

“The kids we deal with are seriously disadvantaged and often the presents they receive from us are the highlight of their year. If it was kids in desperate need of a toy who broke in, all they needed to do was talk to their health visitor or social worker and we would have given them toys. I just don’t understand it.”

A charity night aimed at raising money for River Kids will be held at Fauldhouse Cricket Club from 7.30pm tonight.

Organised by the Miss West Lothian pageant, it will host singing, dancing and a disco.

Admission on the door is £3 or £2 in fancy dress.

The evening will also see the launch of the Miss West Lothian 2013 charity event.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating after a property at the Uphall Depot belonging to a local charity was broken into.

“A variety of toys were taken during the incident, which happened sometime around 10.20pm on Saturday, March 17.

“Anyone who can assist officers with their enquiries is asked to contact police immediately.”

For more information about the West Lothian Toy Appeal, or to donate, visit www.westlothiantoyappeal.org.uk.