Passers-by snatch charity donations

Sobell House charity shop manager Louise Humberstone follows one of the culprits on the

Sobell House charity shop manager Louise Humberstone follows one of the culprits on the

First published in News by

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.

Comments (9)

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7:37am Tue 3 Apr 12

SNJ says...

You mean they didn't know this was happening? They must be tidier than the Headington thieves, who leave everything they don't want strewn all over the pavement or in the Iceland carpark.

The situation has improved a little here now that most of the charity shops open on a Sunday. I once saw a coach make a special stop in Headington on a Sunday and unload a gang of foreign kids who went through all the bags very efficiently.
You mean they didn't know this was happening? They must be tidier than the Headington thieves, who leave everything they don't want strewn all over the pavement or in the Iceland carpark. The situation has improved a little here now that most of the charity shops open on a Sunday. I once saw a coach make a special stop in Headington on a Sunday and unload a gang of foreign kids who went through all the bags very efficiently. SNJ
  • Score: 0

7:57am Tue 3 Apr 12

jonny1976 says...

as soon as it is left out in public it becomes no ones property untill the shop picks it up. Police not really got a leg to stand on. The passer bys can confidently claim they are just clearing the streets of rubbish. We take items to charity shops and when we go, if it is closed we come back another time rather than leave it on the street.
as soon as it is left out in public it becomes no ones property untill the shop picks it up. Police not really got a leg to stand on. The passer bys can confidently claim they are just clearing the streets of rubbish. We take items to charity shops and when we go, if it is closed we come back another time rather than leave it on the street. jonny1976
  • Score: 0

8:25am Tue 3 Apr 12

Lady Penelopee says...

Happens all the time.

I caught some "pikey" kids going through the clothes donations bags that you leave out for collection. They'd taken what they wanted and just left the bags open and stuff all over the street. Nice.
Happens all the time. I caught some "pikey" kids going through the clothes donations bags that you leave out for collection. They'd taken what they wanted and just left the bags open and stuff all over the street. Nice. Lady Penelopee
  • Score: 0

9:21am Tue 3 Apr 12

Darkforbid says...

I remember when, I could afford to shop at charity shops, now when they see a brand name their sticking £20 or more on items...

Of course the charity complaining, but can still afford having the cameras fitted...
I remember when, I could afford to shop at charity shops, now when they see a brand name their sticking £20 or more on items... Of course the charity complaining, but can still afford having the cameras fitted... Darkforbid
  • Score: 0

9:38am Tue 3 Apr 12

Tom Cranmer says...

“The issue of who owns donated items left outside charity shops when they are closed is a very complex legal one.” No it's not, in R (Rickets) v Basildon Magistrates’ Court, 14 July 2010, the High Court Judge determined that goods left outside a charity shop had not been abandoned as the owner had not given up ownership, but intended to donate them to the charity shop. He was then found guilty of theft, so a legal precident has been set. And as for the cost of a CCTV system, you can get them for less than £100, and if it can help increase revenue for Sobell House, it's an investment. Just need to get TVP to know the law.....
“The issue of who owns donated items left outside charity shops when they are closed is a very complex legal one.” No it's not, in R (Rickets) v Basildon Magistrates’ Court, 14 July 2010, the High Court Judge determined that goods left outside a charity shop had not been abandoned as the owner had not given up ownership, but intended to donate them to the charity shop. He was then found guilty of theft, so a legal precident has been set. And as for the cost of a CCTV system, you can get them for less than £100, and if it can help increase revenue for Sobell House, it's an investment. Just need to get TVP to know the law..... Tom Cranmer
  • Score: 0

9:44am Tue 3 Apr 12

snert says...

This sort of thing has been going on for years. Most charity shops I know put signs up saying "Please don't leave things outside over night as people steal them". The trouble is the wannabe do-gooders who leave the stuff outside don't read it andseem oblivious to the theft hat goes on. why make the special trip at night? Just wait until you go into town on the weekend or a day off and take it in during the day. It's not difficult.
This sort of thing has been going on for years. Most charity shops I know put signs up saying "Please don't leave things outside over night as people steal them". The trouble is the wannabe do-gooders who leave the stuff outside don't read it andseem oblivious to the theft hat goes on. why make the special trip at night? Just wait until you go into town on the weekend or a day off and take it in during the day. It's not difficult. snert
  • Score: 0

10:01am Tue 3 Apr 12

Darkforbid says...

The real crime is a lot of donated items are judged 'not good', or not worth display space and simply thrown in the charities skip.
The real crime is a lot of donated items are judged 'not good', or not worth display space and simply thrown in the charities skip. Darkforbid
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Tue 3 Apr 12

sparky123456 says...

the charity should install a secure drop off point. otherwise who cares? Headington is an eyesore most weekends as peoples cast-offs are left all over the street. most of it not fit for resale.
the charity should install a secure drop off point. otherwise who cares? Headington is an eyesore most weekends as peoples cast-offs are left all over the street. most of it not fit for resale. sparky123456
  • Score: 0

10:24pm Wed 4 Apr 12

Severian says...

Presumably people were going in at night, because in the daytime the Cherwell parking wardens will make you pay to park?
Presumably people were going in at night, because in the daytime the Cherwell parking wardens will make you pay to park? Severian
  • Score: 0

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