Three men stole charity boxes from a newsagents in a late-night smash-and-grab raid – which the shop owner says has left her devastated.
The three broke into Queen’s Parade News at 3.50am today.
Three charity boxes were stolen – for the Harbour Cancer Centre in Gosport, Wave 105 Cash for Kids and for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air ambulance.
Newsagent owner Jo Durham, who is on the board of Cash for Kids, said she was devastated by the break-in and said: ‘There are certain lines you don’t cross and stealing from charity is one of those. I feel it's not my money that’s been taken, but my customers’ money. I’ve been broken into before but this one today has left me in bits. They are complete and utter lowlifes.’
In June this year raiders broke through the shop’s front door and stole cigarettes.
The charity boxes were the only thing to be taken this time, although the damage to the front door will cost Mrs Durham several hundred pounds, whether it is claimed on insurance or whether she covers the cost herself.
Mrs Durham, 52, added: ‘My shop is a community shop, in the old-fashioned way – I always tell my customers “my shop is your shop”. Today I have had little old ladies in here crying, and I have already had donations of £40 from people, even though it is their money that has been taken. It is bringing people together but it’s not nice.’
Police say that the three were on bikes and rode off towards Privett Road. Mrs Durham said that she believed it was pre-meditated as one of the thieves wore a beanie hat which was pulled down to become a balaclava and so protect his identity.
Police want to hear from anyone who knows about the break-in to call them on 101, quoting 44180385335.