Police have appealed for witnesses after a series of burglaries at charity shops and thefts of charity tins from businesses.
In the last four weeks shops in Stamford, Bourne, Market Deeping, Spalding and Sleaford have been burgled. And a number of the thefts took place in the space of 24 hours this week.
The British Heart Foundation shop in High Street, Stamford, was broken into sometime between 4pm on Sunday and 9am on Monday. The thieves smashed a window at the back of the shop to get in. They stole money from the till, four Slazenger watches, and a collection tin.
The charity’s area manager for Stamford Stacey Oldham said: “It is incredibly sad that our Stamford shop has experienced this burglary and a horrible shock for the staff and volunteers who work there.
“We absolutely rely on the support of the Stamford community to keep the shop running and it is only from the goodwill of the local people donating stock to us and volunteering in the shop that we are able to continue funding more life saving heart research.
“We are hopeful that with the support of the Stamford community the shop can bounce back from the burglary.”
Lilli’s Tea Room in Market Gate, Market Deeping, was burgled on Sunday night. Thieves got in by climbing over the roof and smashing a shop window. Once inside they stole money from a charity box.
Burglars also tried to break into the British Red Cross shop in North Street, Bourne, at about 1.40am on Monday, but were unsuccessful.
The thefts were the latest in a series of similar incidents in the area. The Cancer Research UK shop in Southgate, Sleaford, was broken into between 4pm on December 28 and 9am on December 29. Cash and a collection tin were stolen.
Burglars stole a safe containing cash and other small items from Cancer Research UK in Hall Place, Spalding, on the night of December 23.
Oxfam in High Street, Stamford, was burgled between 6.45pm on December 13 and 7am on December 14. Thieves smashed a window to get in and stole two collection tins, also caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage. They also managed to force their way into the stock room of neighbouring Savers, and stole perfume.
And the Penny Lane charity shop in St Paul’s Street, Stamford, was targeted at a similar time, although the burglars did not get in.
A police spokesman said: “We would really like to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything to do with these burglaries. By their very nature these shops rely on the good will of people to donate not only goods but also money to charity collection tins that are often kept inside.
“There is not usually a lot of cash kept on site and the goods inside aren’t typically high-value, so it seems incredibly callous that charity shops are being targeted.
“If you have any information about any of these incidents or think you may know anything that could assist our investigation please do get in touch with us as soon as possible on 101. We appreciate any and all information, sometimes something seemingly innocuous can help us find those responsible.”
A previous version of this story said two people had been arrested in connection with the thefts. This was based on incorrect information provided by the police.