A DEVASTATING spate of thefts from charity shops in Shirley is depriving the disadvantaged and needy of vital funds – The Observer can reveal.
There are more than a dozen different charity shops lining the town’s High Street – all raising much-needed cash for their various causes.
But all of them are reporting a worry-ing upturn in the number of thefts and the effect it is having on fearful staff, let alone charity coffers.
Speaking to The Observer this week, two of the shop managers said the rise was alarming.Sharon Wright, manager at Debra, said: “It is disgusting – these people are stealing from charities who are raising money for sick, needy and desperate children and adults.
“They are targeting all the charity shops along the High Street – all 14 or 15 of us – not to mention all the other shops in town.
“We are all getting quite scared now because we are worried what people might do if we challenge them.”
She added that the charity had to lock up any items of any value – nice clothes, shoes, handbags and so on – and that although there is CCTV in the shop and out the back, it doesn’t seem to be putting people off.
All the shops are being targeted almost daily and the Debra shop itself has been burgled five times in the last five years – as previously reported in The Observer.
Antony Richards, manager at the new Children’s Society store on the Stratford Road, added: “We can’t believe people would steal from a charity, steal from children who desperately need our help.“All our money goes to help local children of all ages in all situations, be it abuse, neglect, poverty.
“These people are taking directly from these children and it is an absolute disgrace that has to stop.”
The Cancer Research UK store has been broken into four times in the last 12 months and the manager and staff were too scared to pose for photographs for this article as they were fearful of retaliation from thieves.
The Observer has asked West Midlands Police for a comment, but they had failed to respond at the time of going to press.
* All the charity stores in Shirley – and across the borough – are desperate for good quality stock to help them raise as much money as possible for their causes.
Debra charity shop manager Sharon Wright and assistant manger Richard Chadwick have also been hit by a rise in crime and say more should be done to help the town’s stores fight crime. Picture by Jon Mullis 04.015.004.sol.jm3 (www.buyphotos247.com)
Cancer Research UK have been broken into four times in the last 12 months.