Thieves steal presents and children’s bikes from Preston Islamic centre

The owner of an Islamic education centre in Preston has said he is ‘heartbroken’ after thieves broke into the building and stole a number of items including his children’s bikes and presents for local kids.

CCTV footage from the Daarul Arqam Islamic education centre shows a young man walking towards the community hub at 10:20am on Saturday morning (8th August), before he smashes several windows and jumps inside.

After some time he opens the front door, escaping with one of the bicycles, and returns with an accomplice.

The duo are alleged to have taken a haul of goods from the centre on Garstang Road, including two bikes, worth £320 each and belonging to the owner’s children, a brand new speaker system, a laptop and a Vax hoover.

Daarul Arqam Islamic education centre on Garstang Road in Preston (Image: Google Street View)

Several presents that were intended to be given to children in the local community were also taken in the theft, which owner Muhammad Javed Ally says will cost them hundreds of pounds.

“My heart is totally broken,” he told LancsLive.

“We’re tirelessly working day and night to make the building better and better and suddenly this happens. We rely on the public giving us what we can and are run for the community to benefit from.

“We run classes for all ages and provide a place to keep children off the streets and now this has happened to us.”

After discovering the break-in a few hours later, Mr Ally phoned the police who arrived within minutes and scoured for people who may still have been inside.

The owner suspects that copper piping that was in the property during works to renovate the heating system could have been the original target for the theft.

The story didn’t end there either, as later on that day at around 8pm, a man who is thought to be one of the alleged thieves from earlier on in the day returned to the site.

“While I was getting the CCTV recording I noticed someone leaving the building and confronted him – he said he was looking for a job and had nothing to do with it,” Mr Ally told us.

Despite that, the man fled on foot, before the owner gave chase and cornered him in a car park close to Preston’s Moor Park.

However, despite calling 999 three times and waiting for over an hour, Mr Ally says that police didn’t turn up and the man alleged to be the thief escaped into the night.

“I told them this guy was hiding in the car park and he could have a knife or something but they said it wasn’t an emergency,” the education owner said.

“I had the criminal with me, directly in front of me and the police didn’t come.

“I told them I was very upset about the way they had handled the situation.”

Mr Ally says that he ‘couldn’t sleep all night’ after the incident which has ‘devastated’ everyone involved with the organisation.

“I had to call a joiner in the middle of the night to secure the building so you can imagine that costed a good amount, and was at the building until 3:30am,” he said.

“We thought he could come for a third time so we spent two hours keeping watch,” he added.

The theft is the latest in a number of incidents that have plagued the charitable organisation, including last year when thugs are said to have managed to enter the site and interfered with the plumbing, flooding the building.

Also last year, it’s said that thieves stole a number of charity collection boxes from the centre.

“We’re begging for some kind of funding so we can fit a more advanced security system but no one is listening to us,” Mr Ally told us.

Lancashire Police did not respond to the allegation that officers did not arrive at the second incident, but told us ‘it’s reported and under investigation’.

The owners are pleading to anyone who knows who might have been involved in the incident to contact the police, quoting the log number LC-20200808-1591.




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