LOCAL people are turning detectives to help a local charity shop which is being targeted by thieves.
The Oxfam shop in Orange Lane has been losing donations, left outside the premises out-of-hours by supporters, over the last few weeks and cheating it of valuable income.
This week manager Jim Fraser said he has been approached by nearby residents who have spotted one or two brazen thefts over the past few days.
He said: “People in the flats opposite have been telling me that they’ve noticed stuff is being lifted out of hours.
“In one case a woman was driving past in her car and slowed down when spotted a child’s tricycle that had been left in the doorway.
“About 20 minutes later she returned with a child who she sat on the trike to see if it would fit, and then she took it.
“I wonder what she thinks when she sees that kid on that trike. Just 50p will keep an African child alive for 24 hours, and how many 50 pences were in that trike?
“A day or two before that a 4x4 pulled up and several black bags that had been left, which would have made us a lot of money, were piled into it. I just don’t know how people can take money out of the system like that.”
Mr Fraser said the frequency of the incidents has shocked the flats’ residents, who have offered to keep a watchful eye on the shop.
He said: “They’re now saying they’ll take more notice of what’s going on and start noting down number plates and one has even said that if he sees anything being left he’ll come over to collect it and store it in his shed.”
The incidents are the latest in a series which have affected other shops in the town. Donations of clothes, books and other items left outside the PDSA’s High Street shop were being stolen so often that the charity was prompted to offer an extra collection service for its supporters, although the additional journeys for its van pushed up running costs.
Similar incidents have also happened at the DebRA shop and all the charities have asked their supporters not to leave donations sitting out overnight but hand them in to the shops in person during opening hours.