Thieves who stole more than £800 from a Christmas fundraiser for families in need have been branded “the lowest of the low”.
The charity event at the Hayfield Community Centre in Kirkcaldy, Fife, took £835 from donations on Saturday.
Despite being locked away, the money was taken along with laptops and childrens’ raffle prizes during a break-in before Monday.
It was to go towards the The Cottage Family Centre’s festive appeal, which helps struggling households.
Organisers were left “devastated” by the theft, but a new fundraiser set up in response has seen them raise more than £1,400.
Debbie Maxwell, co-organiser of the fundraiser, said: “I was very upset, devastated and then very angry that we had worked so hard to raise the money and it was just gone.
“Our local community who attended dug deep to help us raise the amount we did and we were over the moon with it.
“For it to be stolen was just sickening. They didn’t just steal from us or the community centre – the money was going to families who are in desperate need of it at Christmas.
“I really have no words for them, I am disgusted that people can do this without a care in the world – they really are the lowest of the low.”
The centre’s annual appeal helps to make sure children from struggling families in the area have a present to open on Christmas Day.
It also goes towards providing their households with food and money for heating.
A CCTV hard-drives, a camera and a petty cash tin which had over £200 for the venue staging the event it were also taken.
Ms Maxwell, 31, who ran the event alongside Linzie Kerr, added: “I am overwhelmed at how the community has responded, everyone is devastated and horrified that this has happened.
“When we set up the fund page, we wanted to just be able to raise something to donate to the cottage even if it was just a small amount.
“We did not for one second think we would have as many donations as we have had – the support has been amazing.”
Police Scotland has confirmed it is investigating the break-in.
A spokeswoman said: “Police in Fife are investigating a break-in and theft from a community centre in Kirkcaldy.
“The incident happened sometime between 1.30pm on Sunday and 6.30am on Monday.
“Inquiries to establish the full circumstances of this incident, and to ascertain what has been stolen, are ongoing.”