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Passers-by snatch charity donations
PEOPLE have been filmed on CCTV stealing items left for a charity shop.
About three weeks ago Sobell House, in Market Square, Bicester, installed a camera at its shop and staff were shocked by what they saw.
When donations have been left outside the shop after it has closed, passers-by stop to have a rummage in the bags.
Books, shoes, clothes, a mattress and even a table have been lifted from the doorstep.
Manager Louise Humberstone said one man appeared to regularly stop and check through items left outside and even brought a torch and his own bags with him.
She said: “We had the CCTV installed on the Monday and looked at it on Tuesday because some of the donations had gone again.
“Basically we watched as people came over and had a look .
“We followed the footage over a weekend. Donations had been left on Saturday evening to Monday morning, and seven people took items from the step, including a guy who comes every night.
“He even holds things up to the light to decide if he wants it. One time he cycled up, picked up a table and cycled off again.”
Miss Humberstone said these people were “absolutely disgraceful”, and said it could have been happening for years, meaning the hospice charity had lost out on a lot of cash.
She said: “These items are left on our doorstep and it’s obvious they have been left for us. People leave donations and other people steal them.
“It’s just sad and pathetic.”
Miss Humberstone said police told her because the incidents came under a crime of ‘theft by finding’ it was difficult to prove.
Police spokesman Leo Tarring said: “The neighbourhood team is aware of the issue and is working closely with the charity shop to help prevent further incidents.
“Officers have been carrying out additional patrols in the area during the early hours of the morning, when the incidents are believed to take place, and have reviewed CCTV footage to try to identify those involved.
“The issue of who owns donated items left outside charity shops when they are closed is a very complex legal one.”
Anyone with information should contact the neighbourhood team via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101.