Criminals have hit the work of a Keighley charity which helps deprived youngsters in Africa.

The chairman and co-founder of the Mpika Relief Fund said water had been leaking into the charity’s storage room, in Dalton Mills, after someone ripped lead off the property’s roof.

June Martin said the water had not yet affected goods, destined for a poor community in Zambia, but added she and her colleagues wanted to move the items to safety as soon as possible.

“There has been some water damage to the room and it has made the property vulnerable,” she said. “We’re worried about things getting damp, because then they’ll be ruined.”

Keighley police have confirmed the incident took place early on Monday morning. Mrs Martin, who lives in Denholme, said the charity had been using the ground-floor storage facility in Dalton Mills for one and a half years. She said among the items in the room due to be sent to Zambia were children’s clothes, carpets, medical supplies, books and school equipment.

She said the damage was inflicted on part of the roof above the store. She said a quantity of lead was removed, but was then left behind indicating that the criminals may have been disturbed.

“Quite a lot of water has leaked in and it’s damaged some of the stock that we were going to sell in our shops,” she said.

“We’re going to try and move things as much as we can to make sure they are away from the affected area. I’m anxious about the wind picking up and doing more harm to the roof.

“Ideally we need our goods to be in a container, so they’re ready to be shipped out.”

She said the items for Zambia should have been sent there earlier this year, but the charity did not have the necessary transport funds.

She said the group would welcome help from people willing to donate to ensure the equipment reached its destination. People can offer their support on (01274) 416226 or online at

A spokesman for Airedale and North Bradford Police said: “CCTV inquiries are currently ongoing to trace those responsible and forensic work is also ongoing.

“Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact Airedale and North Bradford CID on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.”