A CHARITY which provides shelter and support for those sleeping rough on the streets of Cirencester has been left reeling after it was broken into this week.

Trustees at The Big Yellow Bus Project have made the heartbreaking decision to suspend the service in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak as it was not possible to run the accommodation safely for volunteers or the town's rough sleepers.

Managed and run by volunteers and funded entirely through fundraising events and the generosity of the community it serves, the bus provides shelter for up to seven 'guests' a night with partitioned sleeping berths on the upper deck.

Trustees were notified of the incident on Monday afternoon.

Gerry Watkins, founder of the Big Yellow Bus Project said: "I could not believe it when I saw the unnecessary and mindless damage that had been caused to the bus.

"I am so devastated for all the people who have worked so hard to provide this service for over a year, as clearing up will end up being more work for them."

The bus does have CCTV footage which has been passed on to the police, who are now dealing with the incident.

The doors which have been badly damaged have now been boarded up and the police have committed to increasing patrols to the bus.

Gerry continued: "This will not deter us and when we are able to re-open the service once the coronavirus risk has gone, we are confident that we will be able to continue offering temporary accommodation and support for local homeless people."

A spokesman for the charity added: "Another concern for the charity, is unauthorised requests for cash being made during the current pandemic by unscrupulous individuals in Cirencester suggesting that money is going to the project.

"This is not the case and the police are carrying out investigations.

"The Big Yellow Bus Project would like to make it clear to members of the public that it never requests money on the streets and relies on fundraising events and generous donations made directly to it."

The bus opened its doors back in December 2018.