Portsmouth charity workers left devastated as thieves strike

NOT HAPPY Sharon Doran, volunteer manageress of the shop that thieves targeted.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (120079-4)
NOT HAPPY Sharon Doran, volunteer manageress of the shop that thieves targeted. Picture: Paul Jacobs (120079-4)
A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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THIEVES stole more than a dozen bags of charity shop clothes donated to raise money for terminally-ill children.

Staff at the Help 4 Special Children shop in High Street, Cosham, were left baffled and angry following the theft of almost 200lbs of old or damaged clothing.

The rags were taken from a locked donation bin behind the shop at some time between 5pm on Saturday and 9am on Monday and were intended to be recycled.

Charity chief executive Keith Shaw said he could understand a homeless person stealing clothes out of need, but was shocked by what he described as an example of ‘organised crime’.

‘They are hardly the mafia, but stealing such a large amount of rags would take planning,’ he said.

‘You would need a van and more than one person. We have a secure bin out the back and we knew exactly how much stuff there was inside, it was about 12 full black bags’ worth.

‘A local business takes them away for us and we get around 45p per kilo.

‘There is quite a lot of money in rags.’

He added: ‘What makes it hard to understand is that we are all volunteers and every penny we collect goes to help terminally-ill children.

‘But obviously there is this element out there that doesn’t care about that.

‘They’re out for themselves and are the lowest of the low.’

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘We can confirm we are investigating a report of theft at the Help 4 Special Children charity shop in Cosham High Street.

‘Officers are carrying out enquiries in the community and are appealing to the public for more information to help catch whoever was responsible for targeting and undermining the selfless work of a charity designed to help children.’

Anyone with information or who noticed anyone acting suspiciously in Cosham High Street over the weekend can contact PC Nick Jackson at Fratton police station by phoning 101.

Or call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.