A CLECKHEATON law firm is counting the cost after thieves broke into its new premises – causing damage estimated at thousands of pounds.
The Howarth Partnership, which specialises in employment law, only moved to its new Brooke Street base last month, spending thousands on refurbishing the old Temperance Hall building to create plush new office space.
However, company director Andy Howarth was greeted with a ‘devastating’ scene when he arrived for work at 7.30am on Friday August 19.
Two bricks had been hurled through a reinforced glass door, and thieves had ransacked the office.
They stole computers, ripped two overhead projectors out of the ceiling and even stole a Kirkwood Hospice charity box and sweets.
Mr Howarth said the damage to the building was greater than the cost of the stolen items, but vowed the burglary would not hold the firm back.
“We were obviously devastated having spent so much time and money renovating the building,” he said.
“But we managed to cope and it was business as usual.
“My initial reaction, after seeing the crude nature of how they broke in, was to expect a small amount of damage inside.
“It’s clear that this wasn’t a professional job.”
The thieves ransacked desks, drawers and filing cabinets looking for petty cash – but found none. Instead, they stole around £50 from a Kirkwood Hospice charity collection box and more money from a box for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
The directors have now invested in additional robust security measures.
“The CCTV system has been fitted and we have upgraded our alarm so it’s now directly connected to the police and a security firm,” said Mr Howarth. “We have regular patrols around the building and new security lights have been fitted as well.”
He said all the firm’s confidential files were securely stored off site and had not been affected by the burglary.
He added: “I would like to thank local businesses who, although we had only just moved to the town centre, got in touch to ask if we needed help. The camaraderie lifted our spirits and everyone was brilliant.”