Vandals spray graffiti and rip up bushes and benches at Sheffield homeless charity

St Wilfrid's staff look at the spot where benches were ripped out by vandals

St Wilfrid's staff look at the spot where benches were ripped out by vandals

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Vandals have ripped out benches, torn up rose bushes and sprayed graffiti at a popular Sheffield charity’s base.

The criminals targeted St Wilfrid’s Centre on Queens Road, Highfield, while it was closed for its annual maintenance period last week and staff were away.

Graffiti sprayed on the wall at St Wilfrid's

Graffiti sprayed on the wall at St Wilfrid's

Workers who help homeless and vulnerable people found the damage to an outside area on their return to the office.

It comes just a few months after thugs scaled a wall to smash up the charity’s minibus – which was used to take service users to trips and activities – and steal the sliding doors in a bizarre theft.

Kevin Bradley, director of the centre, said: “It’s not really a question of the cost of this latest incident, it is all the hard work that went in to the area – although it will cost us a few hundred quid.

“We reported it to the police and a couple of constables have been down but really there is very little they can do about it.

“We are beginning to think that we need CCTV at the centre after this and the minibus incident – but trying to get money for that is the problem.

“The benches have been totally ripped out from where they were, the rose bushes too and there has been graffiti sprayed on the wall as well.

“It was really shocking for our staff to come back and find it after the centre was closed for a week.”

Plans for a major £2 million residential project that will extend the services of St Wilfrid’s, which helps vulnerable people between the ages of 18 and 65, have also been given final approval this month by planners at Sheffield Council.

A block of 20 individual apartments on land adjacent to the centre, donated by the Diocese of Hallam, will be built to provide low cost accommodation.

The aim of the scheme is to help people live independently with extensive support rather than moving them into a flat and leaving them to cope alone.

Residents will be able to attend life classes such as cookery or employment so they can build their confidence and skills.

Work on building the block is set to begin later this month.

The centre has previously had support from Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire Simrin Choudrie who pledged £20,000 per year for five years towards the centre’s running costs.

Police have not yet confirmed whether they are investigating the incident of vandalism or appealing for information.