News Walthamstow

Walthamstow Toy Library ransacked by ‘very disturbed individual’

This is the second break-in at the centre’s new home in just a few months
By Victoria Munro

The trashed and vandalised centre (credit: Helen Crockford)
The trashed and vandalised centre (credit: Helen Crockford)

The Walthamstow Toy Library was ransacked by a “very disturbed individual” last weekend – the second break-in in just a few months.

Director Helen Crockford told the Echo she arrived at 9.15am on Saturday, 13th August, and found a man in the building, who apologised before running away.

She said he made off with £30 in cash and that local church St Mary’s Walthamstow later found discarded toys in their carpark, which could have been taken from the centre.

While the library was quickly made “good as new”, Helen said the incident has made her nervous about going into the building in case she finds someone again.

(Credit: Helen Crockford)

She said: “I found him sitting in our reception, which he had completely destroyed. He said ‘I’m sorry, I’m homeless’. The police said he probably isn’t but we found a blanket in here.

“The way he had completely trashed the place, he needs help. It was kind of like he came in to play, he’d used all the arts and crafts materials and some of the toys.

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“Clearly he has mental health problems and those services are being squeezed… It’s just a shame this had to happen to a community space that’s really well-used and well-loved.”

(Credit: Helen Crockford)

The Toy Library is renting the building temporarily from NHS Property Services, after being forced out of their long-term home in Ravenswood Road.

Helen said NHS Property Services have promised to paint anti-climb paint on the fencing around the centre in the hopes of preventing future break-ins.

She added that the attempted burglars in May “broke in through the same window” but were interrupted by a yoga teacher coming to set up and fled without taking anything.

Readers can donate to help cover the cost of repairs here.

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