"DESPICABLE" burglars have broken into the premises of a charity which is dedicated to helping people with terminal illnesses.

The break-in took place at the base of the HoneyRose Foundation on Cotham Street between 5pm on Wednesday and 8.40am today (Thursday).

The offenders smashed a window to gain entry before making an untidy search and taking a quantity of donated cash and an empty till.

The donations had been for the charity's Wishing Well fund which was to go towards the building.

Police say CCTV, witness and forensic enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances and locate those responsible.

Community inspector Matt Drennan said: "I am sure the wider community will share our disgust that someone has targeted a charity in his way.

“It is a despicable offence and I would like to reassure the community that we are working to identify the person or people responsible so that they can be brought to justice.

"I would appeal to anyone who was in the area overnight and noticed anything suspicious near to or outside the charity shop to contact police. Your information will be looked at thoroughly and could really help our enquiries.”

The HoneyRose Foundation was set up by Lynn Duffy MBE in 2004 after she had lost three close friends to cancer.

The charity grants wishes for terminally ill adults in St Helens and the North West.

The HoneyRose has expressed its shock at the break-in and is asking for any assistance to replace stolen items.

A statement said: "Are there any businesses/people out there who would be willing to help us replace what was taken?

"We need a new till for the shop, new razor wire for the yard wall (this will also need fitting) and general donations to try to replace the money taken that was being raised for our building fund!

"As a small, independent charity already struggling to raise funds for the wishes we organise for adults with cancer and other terminal illnesses, this has really knocked us back.

"We will not be beaten though and will come back stronger!

"We will reopen the shop later today and continue to welcome the people of St Helens who will be as shocked as we are at the levels some people will stoop to."