Heartless thieves smashed their way into a charity shop in Accrington, stealing cash and raffle prizes.

Friends of The Cats, a cat rescue and adoption centre on Blackburn Road, was broken into on Friday night.

Manager, Andy Richards said: "I'm really disappointed in the people who've done this.

"We're trying our best and working tirelessly for homeless and injured cats and it's sad to know that there are people out there who would seek to destroy all the good work we're doing.

"I'm sorry for all the good people who generously donated raffle prizes only to see them stolen.

"There was very little cash in the till, just change, and they've completely destroyed the till for that, dumping it in the alleyway, which is where we later found it."

Mr Richards said this isn't the first time his shop has been targeted, as two years ago they had the glass in the front door smashed.

Fortunately, the alarm deterred the intruders and they made off before being able to access the inside of the shop.

Mr Richards continued: "For some reason the alarm didn't go off this time. We're having it serviced and making sure it is in full working order now.

"I've been overwhelmed by the messages of support and the kind people who have given cash donations to help us get through this.

"Working in cat rescue, I see the very best and the very worst of people and this is such a time."

In October, following a spate of break-ins, Cllr Lisa Allen called on the council to relax rules preventing shopkeepers from installing shutters in the town centre so that their businesses were protected from thieves.

However, Hyndburn Council leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson, said he did not want the town centre to look like “inner-city Toxteth” and added the council would work with police to try and tackle the problem.

Mr Richards said: "The installation of shutters would definitely prevent further break-ins, it's a good idea."

A spokesperson for the police said they were called at 9.15am on Saturday to reports of a burglary.

The spokesperson said: "Sometime between 8.30pm on Friday November 30 and 8am on Saturday December 1 a window has been smashed at a shop on Blackburn Road and burglars have gained entry to the premise taking a charity collection tin, some Christmas raffle prizes and the shop till.

"As of yet no arrests have been made and we would ask anyone with any information to contact us on 101 quoting log number 363 of December 1."