Heartless thieves broke into a charity-run foodbank and stole laptops, a projector and a van.

The raiders also stole a safe containing equipment when they broke into the warehouse used by the Braintree Area Foodbank.

The raid took place at the Lakes Industrial Park in Braintree last Wednesday.

Foodbank director Vivian Salter said the charity was left shocked by the raid but was determined to bounce back.

And she insisted it would not affect the service’s work, which is a vital lifeline to some families.

“We are saddened that this has happened to us,” she said.

“All we want to do is help feed those in food poverty within the Braintree district.

“We would like to reassure our clients that we are still operating normally and all our centres will be open as usual.

“We would also like to say thank you for the support we have received since this happened.”

The van which was stolen is used to pick up donations made by the public and take them to the warehouse. Once the donations have been sorted, the van is used to take food parcels to the charity’s centres across the district.

Inside the safe was computer equipment and training items used for courses to teach people skills to cook from scratch.

It is unclear how the van was stolen by the crooks.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We received reports of a burglary at a business on Lower Chapel Hill in Braintree between Tuesday, October 23 and Wednesday, October 24.

“Entry had been gained into a foodbank at the Lakes Industrial Park and items including laptops, vouchers and a projector were stolen along with a 2007 white Ford Transit van.”

Anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area around the time of the burglary or has information about the raid is urged to call the Braintree local policing team on 101 quoting reference 42/154842/18.