A celebration event at a north Northumberland lifeboat station was marred after thieves struck, depriving the charity of hundreds of pounds of equipment and raffle prizes.
On Saturday night, Boulmer Volunteer Rescue Service hosted a private farewell party for the vice-chairman who is moving abroad.
And it was a double celebration as the crew is set to receive its new lifeboat later this week.
The event itself was a great success, but the following morning as the clean-up began, it was discovered that thieves had forced their way in and stolen a laptop, a projector and numerous bottles of alcohol, some of which were to be used as raffle prizes at future fund-raising events.
The Boulmer crew is not affiliated to the RNLI and therefore has to raise all of its own funds to continue running its life-saving service.
Claire Bowron, from the crew, said: “It’s left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths.
“It’s bad enough when people’s homes get broken into, but it’s galling when it’s a charity.”
The party had continued into the early hours of Sunday, before Claire and others returned later that day.
“The next morning we went to tidy up and started looking for things,” she said. “We realised that quite a number of things had been taken and then found a forced window.”
Those responsible had ripped the projector off the ceiling, taken the laptop on which the crew keeps all of its reports and forced a door into the back and stolen six bottles of Pimms, a bottle of Famous Grouse whisky and Gordon’s gin as well as a bottle of champagne and a presentation box of whisky to be used as raffle prizes.
The items are covered by insurance, but the crew has found out that its excess is £300, which means they will be left out of pocket either way.
“It was a fabulous night, but it was marred the next morning,” Claire added.
“The projector in particular is not obvious so someone had to know it was there.”
It could have been worse though, as because cash is stored in a safe elsewhere, the thieves didn’t make off with the £600 or so that had been raised on the night.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.