Southsea shop shocked after ‘sick’ thief snatches vital charity cash

Martyn and Tara Knight, the owners of Southsea Coffee '''Picture Ian Hargreaves  (160593-3)
Martyn and Tara Knight, the owners of Southsea Coffee '''Picture Ian Hargreaves (160593-3)
  • Money was meant for a Portsmouth-based mental health support team
  • Coffee shop staff had spent month raising the cash
  • Appeal has now gone out for the city to rally and donate to the store’s fundraising bid
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A thief who stole money meant to help a mental health charity in Portsmouth has been branded ‘sickening and disgusting’ by fundraisers.

Since January, kindhearted staff at Southsea Coffee in Osborne Road have been raising cash for Tonic Music of Mental Health.

This is money that was meant for charity and some scum bag has taken it

Martyn Knight, Southsea Coffer owner

It comes after they agreed to do a sponsored head-shave for the organisation.

With the help of generous customers, the shop’s charity kitty had topped £300.

But last Thursday a thief walked in and snatched the money leaving staff distraught.

The coffee shop’s owner Martyn Knight said: ‘They just walked in as bold as brass and took it off the shelf. We didn’t even see them do it.

‘I can’t describe how we feel. It’s just sickening.

‘All the girls are sick as pigs – they’re absolutely distraught.

‘This is money that was meant for charity and some scumbag has taken it.’

Manager Lisa Donnachie was one of those going to be shaving her head for the event, on May 29.

Lisa explained mental health issues were close to her heart and that the theft had left her disgusted.

‘I have lost a couple of friends to suicide,’ she said.

‘I know how important charities like Tonic can be in supporting people.

‘Mental health is something that affects everybody – there’s not one person who hasn’t been affected directly by it or knows someone that has been affected by it.’

The staff aimed to raise £2,000 for the charity. Thankfully, some of their cash had been donated to various online JustGiving pages and wasn’t taken.

But with just weeks left until the head-shave, staff are appealing for people in Portsmouth to rally and support them.

Martyn’s wife Tara Knight added: ‘You don’t think anyone would take money from charity – particularly from such a grass roots local one.

‘This money would mean so much to Tonic, they could do a lot of good with it.’

Witnesses or those with information about the theft should call police on 101.

Those wishing to help back Southsea Coffee’s fundraising bid are being urged to visit the shop for more details or to call it on (023) 9307 9501.