Lifeline Taree volunteers were left horrified and disgusted after the charity bins and area behind the store were burnt and vandalised.
The bins were set alight on Thursday, October 8, with graffitti added to the mess the following Monday.
The store has been without a manager for a while so Wingham manager Beth Byrne and Forster's Peita Dent have helped out. This wasn't what they expected.
"It's horrifying, especially for a charity," Beth said.
"These people have nothing else better to do," Peita said.
Peita said the fire caused $6000 worth of damage to the bins, which were recently repainted.
"The bins were completely full after the long weekend," she added.
Scrap metal workers attended the site on Thursday, October 15 to remove the bins but beforehand, Great Lakes graffiti buster Ted Bickford and fellow volunteer Nathan Dillon cleaned-up the graffiti.
"That makes life a bit easier when there's two of us," Ted said.
Most of the graffitti, featuring unidentifiable tags and immature images, was removed with chemicals while one area, close to cars in Butterworth car park, was covered with what Ted calls 'skatepark grey' paint.
It took the duo just under three hours to clean-up.
"I deal a lot with young people and I'd be disgusted if anyone of them did something like this," Ted said.
In 2018, the Taree store was targeted by a 'fire bug' when a box of nappies was set alight and kicked into a front glass door.
Peita said all volunteers have been 'remarkable' through the latest ordeal.
Ted has worked as the Great Lakes graffiti buster for 26 years. 'Great Lakes' in the title should now be changed to 'Mid Coast'.
"I go to Harrington, Croki, Taree and Hawks Nest as well," Ted said.
"As long as people ring me I can keep on top of it.
"I take it off everything like garage and car doors - I have zero tolerance for graffiti."
This past week, Ted also removed graffiti near Manning River Rowing Club. The nearby playground in Queen Elizabeth Park was also vandalised with the same tags.
Visit the Manning River Times website to view more photos of the damage.
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