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Thieves who broke into the Oamaru Food Bank in France St on Wednesday could have spoiled Christmas for some of the town's neediest residents had they not been disturbed.
Police said thieves forced open a door at the food bank and took soft drink, confectionery, biscuits and two bottles of wine.
Food bank secretary Archdeacon Bernard Wilkinson said it appeared he disturbed the thieves when he made an evening visit to the food bank, but added that he found it hard to believe that anyone would want to steal from the food bank.
''We consider ourselves fortunate that more wasn't taken, but if they had only come and asked for food we would have gladly given it to them.
''The interesting thing was, we looked around and mostly it's confectionery and soft drink that was taken, which makes us think very much that it is children.''
The theft came just two days after the food bank's most successful Toot for Tucker appeal. Mr Wilkinson said the goods donated as part of the appeal would keep the food bank going ''well into the future'' and would help to deal with an expected increased demand over the Christmas and holiday period.
''We had extremely generous support with our Toot for Tucker.
''It will enable us to continue well into the future, and we appreciate more than they will know the generosity of this Oamaru community.''
The food bank was open every Friday between 10am and noon, including over the holiday period, he said.