CHARITIES have spoken of their shock and sadness after a thief stole five collection boxes from a town centre store.
Three charity boxes for the Rotary Club of Fareham and two for Kids, the Fareham-based charity for disadvantaged youngsters, were taken from the 99p Store in West Street, Fareham.
Malcolm Cooke, assistant director for Kids, based in Salterns Lane, said: ‘This is money people have given out of their own pockets at a time when money is tight.
‘I’m absolutely stunned that anybody could think of taking money away from the local community. Whoever did this is the lowest of the low.’
Duncan Colin-Jones, president of Fareham Rotary, said: ‘It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but obviously that’s not the point.
‘We feel very saddened that someone could sink so low as to steal from a charity. It is wrong.
‘It is a terrible thing he’s done and he needs to think of others who are worse off than he is and the better ways in which that money could have been used.’
Assistant manager Goutham Chennamadhavuni was on duty when the theft happened.
He said: ‘It was a Sunday so we were busy, I had noticed this guy who was around the till area, going away, then coming back again.
‘I did think it was suspicious, but I was serving customers, then he went and I didn’t think any more about it.
‘It was only a couple of days later when one of the cashiers said that the charity boxes were missing.
‘I went and looked back through our CCTV and could see it was the same man who stole all of the boxes.’
Police are investigating the theft and found the boxes, emptied out, in a bin by Burger King, several doors further along the precinct.
It is not known how much money was taken.
The charity boxes were kept by the till area at the front of the store and went missing at about 12.30pm on Sunday, October 14.
The store has released the CCTV image above of a man police would like to speak to in connection with the thefts.
Anyone with any information should contact Fareham police on 101 or use Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.