THIEVES smashed their way into a city bakery during a midnight raid before making off with takings and a charity collection bucket.
Around £1200 was stolen from the Edinburgh Bakehouse after a crowbar-wielding gang tore through the front door and ransacked the shop on Newington Road.
They fled with about £200 in charity cash set to be donated this weekend to Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Owner James Lynch, 32, who launched the bakery last year, said the break-in was a major setback to his business plans but vowed to come back stronger.
“This has set me miles behind in the goals I have set for the business,” he said. “Things have already been hard because there has been a lot of roadworks going on outside and times are tough for everyone just now.
“It’s knocked me back a bit but I’m not going to let it beat me.”
Mr Lynch described how his heart sank as he arrived to work on Saturday morning to find the door ajar and his business trashed.
“I came in at 4.30am on Saturday and couldn’t believe what I was seeing – the front door had been forced open and was off its hinges and when I went through to the office it was a big mess and so was the main shop,” he said.
“They had taken money from the till, some from the office and from a collection bucket.
“I’m just so angry about that because I do quite a lot of charity work for the hospital but this time I decided to give the money to Marie Curie Cancer Care and was planning to donate it this weekend.”
The master baker said he had “no idea” who could have carried out the raid but said it was likely the work of “desperate people who got lucky”.
“There must have been a couple of them working together, I think it was definitely a two-man job,” he said.
“I want to highlight what can happen to make other shopkeepers aware so hopefully they won’t have to go through what I have gone through.”
Police confirmed they were investigating the break-in and urged witnesses to come forward with information.
Fiona Bushby, community fundraising manager at Marie Curie Cancer Care, said she was “saddened” that charity cash had been stolen.
“We rely on the generous donations made by our supporters and the valuable funds raised would have helped Marie Curie nurses provide more free care to people with terminal illnesses in their own homes and in the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh.”