Stepney youth centre trashed by mystery intruders

Arbour centre

Arbour centre - Credit: Archant

Intruders have trashed a Stepney youth centre causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Graffiti on the walls of The Arbour

Graffiti on the walls of The Arbour - Credit: Archant

Every single door inside The Arbour centre, Harford Street, was smashed as well as expensive laptops and video recording equipment.

Every single door was smashed open at The Arbour

Every single door was smashed open at The Arbour - Credit: Archant

Police were called when youth co-ordinator Zak Hussain, 23, arrived at the centre to find a squatter’s notice and a path of destruction last Friday afternoon.

The Arbour trashed by squatters

The Arbour trashed by squatters - Credit: Archant

The group had urinated, defecated and sprayed graffiti inside the hall causing £10,000 worth of damage while electronic equipment was also stolen, valued at around £11, 900.

Neighbours later reported seeing lights on in the early hours of the morning.

The charity’s chairman of trustees and vicar of neighbouring St Dunstan’s Church, Trevor Critchlow, 52, of Rectory Sqaure, was shocked by the scene.

“It’s so sad because this is just a community centre for young people that does incredible work for social inclusion,” he said

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“It’s an appalling sight and we’re still in a state of shock.

“I’d just urge anyone nearby to keep their eyes peeled. They haven’t returned yet but we’re scared they will.”

No arrests have yet been made while officers investigate further.

First launched in 1953, The Arbour aims to empower the communities young people by helping them gain both social and vocational skills through a range of weekly services.

Anyone with information should call DC RS Jones from Tower Hamlets Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.