Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Give And Taken

Three women have been spotted in one night helping themselves to donations left outside the British Heart Foundation charity shop in Central Road. Two women were spotted just after 3am Monday morning (Sunday night) by vigilant CCTV operators in the Control Room at Sutton Police Station rummaging through the charity bags left in the doorway of the shop. Video recordings show the women pulling up in a car, searching the bags of donated goods, and choosing a selection to load into the boot of their car.

One of the officers from the control room quickly headed out and caught them on their way back towards Sutton driving along Cheam Road. The officer arrested the women for theft and they were each issued with £90 fixed penalty notices.

The women aged 47 and 72, who both live on the Benhill Estate, were found in possession of a pink toy box, two lampshades, a black bag of toys and plastic box of various items. The officer returned the goods to the charity shop in Worcester Park whilst the control room kept the cameras trained on the shop front.

Soon after this, CCTV operators watched in astonishment as another woman turned up, pulled out a teddy bear from one of the bags and gave it to her dog before walking off. Police took no action this time.

Insp Andy Stalley commented: “It’s wonderful we live in a borough where people want to give to help charities. But it’s clear that leaving goods in doorways overnight makes them easy targets for thieves.”

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, advises:

  • Don’t leave goods outside charity shops; take them to the shop during opening hours
  • If you can’t visit a charity shop during opening hours, ask whether the shop collect items from your home
  • Consider using charity house-to-house collection sacks posted through your front door. Make sure the collection is for charity by looking out for a registered charity number and check it against the online register at (see this website for more information too.)

I note that this particular charity offers free collection of your unwanted things by phoning 0208 330 7428. There, problem solved.