Livingston underwear charity targeted by housebreakers

Maria helps children in Africa
Maria helps children in Africa
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HEARTLESS housebreakers trashed a West Lothian charity’s base wrecking donations and leaving a trail of destruction.

The headquarters of Smalls For All - which provides underwear for those in need - was broken into last night hours after travellers moved onto the site.

Donations at the charity were wrecked

Donations at the charity were wrecked

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Founder Maria Macnamara arrived at Kirkton Campus in Livingston this morning to find yobs had ripped open stock and flooded the warehouse while trying to steal copper pipes.

“It’s just so upsetting. We had a shipment of 2,000 that was meant to go out today but couldn’t,” said Maria, who also had a generator stolen.

“They kicked the door in and it’s not secure so I don’t want to leave it now in case they come back.

“It’s heartbreaking, really, really sad but I suppose I just have to keep it in perspective. Other people will be having a lot worse day than us so we just have to keep going.”

In a cruel twist, the charity was set to move to new headquarters on the Five Sisters Business Park, West Calder, only for those plans to be thrown into chaos.

“What should have been a happy day as we started to prepare for our move to new premises took a turn for the worse,” said Marie.

“The place was flooded and ransacked. Sadly lots and lots of damage. We’re moving things out as fast as we can.”

Maria has now made an impassioned plea for anyone with a van or lorry who can spare some time to help with the move to get in touch.

“We would be most grateful for the help,” she added.

Launched in 2010, the charity collects and distributes underwear to help women and children in Africa and the UK.

Maria was spurred into action after volunteering in Ethiopia where she read an article about the problems women and children face through having no underwear.

“Having no underwear can be a health and hygiene problem for many poor African communities,” she said.

“Many women and children can’t afford underwear or have only one pair of pants. Many teenage girls miss out on valuable days of schooling when they're forced to stay at home every month.”

Donations of underwear to Smalls For All have been sent to orphanages, slums, hospitals and schools across Africa.

“We also help to fund the education of children in Africa, and work with local charitable organisations to ensure we provide help in a practical and sustainable way,” said Maria.

“We also help charities that focus on alleviating poverty in the UK by providing them with underwear.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "At around 8.30am on Tuesday 11th June, police in West Lothian received a report of a Traveller encampment being set up on the grounds of a business premises at the Kirkton Campus in Livingston.

"Officers are liaising with colleagues at West Lothian Council in relation to this matter.

"Police are also conducting inquiries into reports of damage caused to the premises as a result of the encampment."