Charity workers in Shepperton have been left devastated after arsonists struck and destroyed their store.

Volunteers at Connect Foundation For Mental Health in Shepperton High Street discovered the blaze in the early hours of Monday morning after residents contacted the fire service.

The fire, which is believed to have been started by vandals setting light to donated goods outside the shop, spread into the flats above before being put out at 5am, nearly three hours after it had started.

Project director of the charity Carl Kirby-Turner, 57, who arrived on the scene with the other volunteers was devastated. He said: "The biggest blow will be on the band of 20 volunteers who helped out at the shop. They will meet this week and decide
what to do next."

Connect is an independent charity involved in funding and supporting those with mental health problems in Isleworth, Shepperton and Walton.  Mr Kirby-Turner added: "The shop in Shepperton was one of our two shops. "With that one gone, it will potentially have quite an impact on the charity."

The charity shop, run entirely by the help of volunteers, is one of the few remaining traditional charity shops according to Mr Kirby-Turner: "It was your original butcher shop. The support of the local community had been crucial to its success."

As well as the charity shop, the flats above were also severely damaged though all the residents were able to escape unharmed.

Source: LocalGuardian