Charity doorstep thefts leave sour taste in resident’s mouth

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A LOCAL resident has spoken of his disgust after witnessing the theft of doorstep donations left out for charity in Stonehaven, writes Jenny Rush.

The Forest Park man, who did not wish to be named, said his household had responded to an appeal by the British Heart Foundation to leave bags or boxes of unwanted clothing and goods outside their properties for collection by the charity

A member of his family had then witnessed the uplifting of these and others in the street by a white van, but thought no more of it, other than that their donations had been successfully and legitimately collected, until another van bearing the emblem of the British Heart Foundation arrived.

In a letter to the Leader, the resident said: “Upon being told of this white van, the driver of the actual van responsible for collecting the donations stated that others had told him similar stories on previous collection attempts.

“It is disgusting to see people take advantage of people’s charitable inclinations and others’ misfortune simultaneously. Not only are they robbing the British Heart Foundation of much needed resources, but they are consequently needlessly draining them of existing ones: man hours and fuel for vehicles are both previous commodities. One doesn’t need to mention the effect this may have on people agreeing to give to charities in the future.

“I of course realise that we are living in uncertain times - and desperate times do, sometimes, call for desperate measures. However, when stealing from charity, we go beyond that. Whether in the trenches of the Somme, or the collapsing towers of the World Trade Centre, man, woman and child seek to preserve that which is precious; dignity, and above all, humanity. This criminal act shows a complete disregard for both.”

The British Heart Foundation has condemned the events, and acknowledged that it is a growing problem across the country, with the charity experiencing a 25% drop in household donations over the course of the past year.

Mike Lucas, retail director of the BHF, said: “All profits raised from goods donated to our shops go directly to fighting heart disease – the UK’s biggest killer. “Household appeals are a vital source of income for shops. Stealing bags that have been left out for our charity is akin to robbing people with heart conditions of a better quality of life.

“Our collection vans display BHF logos and all operatives carry ID cards. To check if a legitimate collection is taking place in your neighbourhood, please contact your local shop. We would urge all householders to report any suspicious activity immediately to the police.”

To find out more information or to locate your nearest shop please call 0844 412 5000 or visit www.bhf.org.uk/shop/our-local-shops.aspx