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Thieves targeting town charity shops

Julia Wigley,  (far left) manager of Cancer Research Shop, is livid because shoplifters are targeting her shop. She's appealing for someone to help them install CCTV.   Also pictured is Marie Perkins (volunteer), Sarah Kesterton (assistant manager) and Jill Cushing (volunteer).

Julia Wigley, (far left) manager of Cancer Research Shop, is livid because shoplifters are targeting her shop. She's appealing for someone to help them install CCTV. Also pictured is Marie Perkins (volunteer), Sarah Kesterton (assistant manager) and Jill Cushing (volunteer).

Charity shops in Bury St Edmunds are being targeted by thieves in a widespread spate of shoplifting.

The charities say thieves see them as easy targets as their shops do not have the sophisticated anti-theft devices used by commercial retailers,

On one occasion, shoes were taken from a charity shop and the thief replaced them with their own old shoes.

Julia Wigley, of the Cancer Reasearch UK shop in Abbeygate Street, is hoping a local company might be prepared to donate a CCTV system to help combat the thieves.

Mrs Wigley said last week alone the shop lost £200 worth of stock, including a £50 pair of shoes.

“The shoes were gone in the time it took to deal with a customer,” she said. “I just felt like shutting the door and saying ‘forget this, I’ve had enough’. My volunteers and I work very hard to raise funds, our customers are great and our donors are exceptional.

“How can people steal from a charity shop?”

She said they had fallen victim to a ‘gang’ of people who arrived with children and were ‘loud and distracting’. She believes they were responsible for taking a whole rack of children’s clothes from the charity’s Cornhill store.

Susanne Dickson, St Nicholas Hospice Care’s retail co-ordinator, said shoplifting was a problem at all their stores in Bury, Mildenhall, Thetford, Sudbury, Haverhill and Newmarket.

She said: “Bury does have more of a problem, but it is our biggest shop.

“They are depriving the charity of much-needed funds to do the work we do for the local community. The hospice needs £11,000 a day.”

Though it is easier for staff and volunteers to keep watch in a small store, even the little Oxfam shop in Bury’s Brentgovel Street has fallen victim. Long-serving volunteer Celia Hannaford said: “In the past they’ve tried on a pair of shoes and put their old ones on the shelf, then walked out.

“They probably think we’re an easy touch.”

 

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