THEFTS from a local charity shop are costing the organisation hundreds of pounds, it emerged this week.
Donations of clothes, books and other items left outside the PDSA’s High Street shop have been stolen on a regular basis over the last few months before it opens at 9am.
A spate of three or four thefts over the last month has finally prompted the charity to offer an extra collection service for its supporters, although the additional journeys for its van will push up running costs.
Store manager Ramona McMahon said staff have been shocked by the frequency of the thefts, some of which have been in broad daylight. They have also been stunned by the audacity of some thieves who have even intercepted regular collections from homes in the local area and others who have gone through the shop’s bins while it was still open for business.
She said: “It’s happening on a very regular basis and a few times over the last month I’ve had customers contact me to say they’ve left items outside the shop asking if we’d got them, which we hadn’t.
“One lady even called to ask if she could buy two chairs she’d seen outside while on the way to her work in the morning, and I had to tell her they weren’t here when I arrived.
“But items aren’t just being taken from the front of the shop, we’ve also heard about bogus vans going around collecting from houses. On occasions we’ve put out between 600 and 700 bags in an area and gone back to be told they’d already been collected. On one run we had two returned, because the lady donated regularly and knew it wasn’t our van.”
The PDSA is now urging its supporters not to leave bags or other items outside the store while it is closed and either hand them in during opening hours, 9am to 5pm, or call to arrange collection.
And if the van that turns up is not marked as belonging to PDSA, do not hand the donations over.
Ramona added: “I can’t believe that people would take the donations off our doorstep, which would have raised vital funds to help the charity in its work of caring for the sick and injured pets of people in need.
“To make sure this doesn’t happen again, we want to let people know that we are happy to arrange collections from supporters’ homes or people can call into the store Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5pm to ensure their donations reach us safe and sound.”
Collections can be arranged by contacting the shop on 01674 673276.