Rise in thieves targetting charity donations

By Kevin Unitt Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 08:04

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Myton Hospice charity shop volunteers Phil Roberts and Fran Dooley in Leamington with some donated bags. 08.013.030.leam.nc1

THIEVES who prey on charity shops have been branded 'despicable' following an alarming rise in thefts from outside shops.

In these tough economic times charities need every penny they can earn for their respective good causes but that means nothing to the thieves targeting goods left on doorsteps.

Local theatre group and registered charity, Spa Theatre Company, was left reeling last week when 25 bags full of donated clothes were taken from a collection point in Radford Semele.

Treasurer Phil Hall, who reported the theft to police, described it as a “severe setback”, adding: “This collection represented a significant amount in fund-raising for us and it is extremely upsetting to think that our members’ hard work over the last few months has effectively come to nothing.”

And a member of our own staff recently witnessed a doorstep theft from the RSPCA charity shop in Kenilworth. A car pulled up outside and a woman got out the back. After a quick look round, she grabbed a couple of bags which she threw in the back, before the car sped off.

He said: “It angers me that people think items donated to help a charity stay afloat are fair game for them. It doesn't matter which way you look at it, it's a despicable form of theft. It's on a par with stealing a collecting tin.”

A spokesperson for The Myton Hospices, which has charity shops in towns across Warwickshire, said they also believed bags had been taken from outside their stores.

Myton’s retail and merchandising manager Steve McArthur added: “We always encourage our customers to bring donations into us rather than leaving them outside our shops. If people wish to donate items out of hours they can take them into our Warwick hospice reception which is manned until 9pm and at weekends.

“It is always sad when items go missing before they reach us.”

Warwickshire Police sergeant Dave Kettle, based in Kenilworth, told the Observer it was wrong for people to "profit from someone else's generosity."

He added the force was aware of several recent thefts and said officers were always on the look-out for thieves when out and about.

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