Thursday, 12 September 2013

Van-ishing Donations

Readers may remember the women who were caught stealing donations from outside a charity shop recently. Well a blog reader contacted me today with a story of an industrial scale version.

He said:
"As I was walking past a charity shop last night [just before midnight], next to WHS, I noticed a rather large van, and a man collecting the donations left outside the shop.
As I approached the man, I asked if he was allowed to do this, and he was adamant that he was working for local charities. Having spoken to the store, they have no idea about this guy or company, and stated no one collects the donations.
The name on the van was 'Rainbow Homeless Centre', and having searched online, found no reference to them. The registration was AJ05 CFE.
I advised the local police and they say they will keep a lookout for this."
I would suggest if anyone knows anything about this or sees this van please contact the police. (101 or anonymously: 0800 555 111)


16 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Thieves About said...

The same van was “collecting” donations from outside the Tadworth Children’s Charity shop in North Cheam on Sunday evening. Obviously he is doing the rounds. This obvious theft can only be stopped if people take their charity donations during opening hours instead of leaving them outside closed shops irrespective of weather and thieves. Considering so many Charity shops are open seven days a week there really is no excuse.

a local resident said...

As the police now know the vehicle's reistartion number why are they not contacting Cardiff DVLA centre for the details of the vehicles owner. It seems that they do not register this as a crime. This is the sign of our times.

guest D said...

Though your point is valid, the police can still charge these people with theft as they were taking goods that didn't belong to them.


Legally they do belong to the people leaving them, the owners of the property (the charity shop) do not gain them when they take them in, to do that they would need to post a notice asking the owners to claim them and giving a time limit, after that expired it would become their property.


However, if the charity shop were ever taken to court, it would get laughed out pretty quickly as they can assume from common practice that it has been left for them.


These people cannot use that defence.

Andrew said...

Well, technically speaking theft is not just the act of somebody taking goods that don't belong to them. Consider the example: a person finding, and taking, £1,000 on the pavement in the middle of an absolutely heavingly busy street in London, or in the middle of an absolutely deserted forest. Then consider finding £1,000 on the floor of the bank manager's office.


Firstly if the charity shop were accused of stealing the goods by the person who deposited them outside or inside their shop, then they could quite rightly defend themselves on the basis that they did not 'dishonestly' appropriate the goods, which is a key term when defining theft, as they reasonably assumed that the goods were intended to be given/donated to them for onward sale.


In the same breath, and with reference to the above, a person is not considered to have 'dishonestly' appropriated something if he believes that the identity of the person to whom the property belongs cannot be established by taking reasonable steps.


We have already established that the property certainly doesn't belong to the charity shop when left outside overnight, so how would a person discover the lawful owner of such property under these circumstances? I would consider that they wouldn't be able to by taking reasonable steps, and therefore I doubt that it would be held out as theft.

guest D said...

Much better explained than by me.


However I would contend that the low lives in the van did dishonestly obtain them, as the most likely reason for the goods being left there was to give them to the charity shop.


I think that the more likely reason for police in action is that unless they catch them in the act, it would be very difficult to prove the goods were dishonestly obtained.

sue said...

About a month ago I tried to put a bag of clothes into the charity bins at Sainsburys North Cheam, but they were full. An oriental man in a 'charity' van offered to take them as there was no room.He did seem a bit weird.

Just a thought said...

This is a pointless, anal discussion which achieves absolutely nothing - except illustrate ignorance of the law. I suggest, given the opportunity readers may wish to take a more active role in actually combatting this crime:

Anecdotal evidence suggests the guy does this regularly. If anyone should stumble upon catching him in the act , simply record his activities in photographs, or better still, on video, including the vehicle type, colour, logo and especially the number plate. If possible record images of the individual, to assist in his identification.

Do not approach the individual. If he confronts you, walk away, trying as best you can to record his actions and speech. Simply hand over this evidence to the police, with the thanks of the entire WP community. Thanks to the WP blogger, as we have seen, the WP blog is playing an active role in aiding the identification of local criminals.

Guest said...

Given the plethora of CCTV cameras the length of Central Road, if this thief can't be identified then one wonders what purpose they serve.
Likewise the yob who tried to steal money from two young women - surely his arrival and departure must have been captured?

David said...

I think the point trying to be made is that strictly speaking this man's actions aren't necessarily illegal in the eyes of the law, and he is therefore not committing a criminal act.


I would have thought that this is highly relevant being as this man is being identified and accused of being a criminal.


Discussions about theft which involve an examination of the Theft Act are hardly pointless, and are, I would have thought, necessary.


No one is questioning the fact that it is morally wrong for him to take this stuff without giving anything to the charity shop.


The only real solution is for people to take things INTO the charity when it is open, instead of fly-tipping it outside in the middle of the night!

Simon Densley (Consv Activist) said...

It is worth noting that last time the police caught and issued penalties to people who had been doing this. So therefore, unless the police got it wrong - which I doubt, this clearly is an an illegal act.

guest D said...

Simon,


If you drop the word clearly I will agree with you.



To take Andrew's 3 £1000 pounds, if the person were to leave the bank with it, it would clearly be theft as the correct course of action would be to alert the bank to its presence.


The sums of money in the street and in the forest, taking them wouldn't be theft. The correct course of action would be to take them to a police station and hand them in. But the finder need not do that immediately, so how long does the person need to hold it before it is theft?


It could be that these people had the intention of handing it into the Police (unlikely) if so no theft has been committed.


In the 70s I was on jury service and there was a case that hinged on this point. A black teacher found a £5 note in the street and picked it up, his defence was that he was going to hand it in. The officer who observed him doing it from afar, arrested him and charged him without giving him the opportunity to hand it to him.


The judges directions were that we had to be satisfied that he intended to keep the money. As the defendent was of good character and the Officer made racist remarks in his evidence (1970s) it only took 10 mins to find him not guilty.

Andrew said...

I stand corrected.....

Case Law never lies.....I personally do think there are grounds to plead that the appropriation wasn't strictly dishonest using the definition of 'dishonest' given in the Act :-

1) A person’s appropriation of property belonging to another is not to be regarded as dishonest -

(a)...
(b)...

(c)(except where the property came to him as trustee or personal representative) if he appropriates the property in the belief that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps.

Andrew said...

I stand corrected.....


http://www.policespecials.com/forum/index.php?/topic/119563-theft-abandoment/

Case Law never lies.....I personally do think there are grounds to plead that the appropriation wasn't strictly dishonest using the definition of 'dishonest' given in the Act :-

1) A person’s appropriation of property belonging to another is not to be regarded as dishonest -

(a)...
(b)...

(c)(except where the property came to him as trustee or personal representative) if he appropriates the property in the belief that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps.

Can we have some logic? said...

"It could be that these people had the intention of handing it into the Police (unlikely) if so no theft has been committed."


So someone is going around picking up donations from outside charity shops, to give to the police - so that the police can bring the same donations back? Oh for goodness sake! Ever seen charity shop donations piled up outside a police station?

Can we have some logic? said...

Maybe the CCTV operators are ignoring the cameras and instead, are busily writing on this thread ?

Man on the Clapham Omnibus said...

No



Logic and the Law are incompatable

Post a Comment

The Worcester Park Blog welcomes your comments and opinions!