POLICE in Skegness have appealed for witnesses after callous thieves stole hundreds of charity bags worth a potential £1,500.
The organised thieves struck last week during the YMCA’s latest charity collection.
Representatives of the charity recently slipped branded charity bags through letterboxes in the Hoylake Drive and Sunningdale Drive area asking for donations.
But when they came to collect the bags of items from local doorsteps at 9am last Friday, they found that sick thieves had already beaten them to the punch.
Witnesses have described seeing a white transit van being driven around local roads and the occupants loading the bags into it over an hour before the designated collection time.
Deborah MacKinnon, the manager of the YMCA shop in Lumley Road said: “We had put out around 400 to 500 bags - but all that were left were 20.
“We’d usually expect a return of around 200 to 300 bags from a drop of that size in the months after Christmas,
“We would normally be looking at making £1,000 to £1,500 from that.
“If we charged £2 for each item of clothing and if the bags had three or four hundred items of clothing in them then it quickly adds up.”
The news is a blow for the YMCA, which only recently re-opened its charity shop in Lumley Road under new management.
Police have branded the thefts “unpalatable”.
A spokesperson said: “It is particularly unpalatable that people are stealing from a charity and that it is not now benefitting from the generosity of the public,” said a police spokesperson.
The force has appealed for information.
Anyone who may have seen the thieves in action, may know who they are, or may know where the stolen donations are, should call the police on 0300 111 0300 and quote incident 120 of February 18.
Meanwhile, the store has appealed for donations at its local store.
Deborah, and assistant manager Claire Kitchen can pick up furniture and electrical goods twice a week, and can visit caravan sites and holiday homes within a 15-mile radius.
If you have any unwanted items you would like to donate call the Lumley Road store on 01754 768 037.