Charity’s last laugh over Budleigh rubbish thief

A Budleigh Salterton charity has had the last laugh - after a thief stole sacks of trash instead of donations.

Police said the culprit looting bags left out at the rear of the Hospiscare shop, in the High Street, would have been left red-faced after realising their spoils were a load of rubbish.

Officers believe the thief, who had made three separate attempts to pilfer, had been hoping to steal donated clothes and goods.

Now they are appealing to anyone who may have seen or heard the culprit at work to get in touch.

Officers are warning against leaving donations outside Budleigh’s charity shops when they are closed.

The town’s police officer, PC Simon Evans, said people donating items to Budleigh’s three charity shops – Oxfam, RSPCA Little Valley Animal Shelter and Hospiscare – could safeguard against their goods falling into the wrong hands by waiting until trading began.

PC Evans said: “This type of crime has been on the increase in recent years, although generally it has been bags of donations left outside people’s houses that have been targeted.”

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Exmouth neighbourhood police team Sergeant Phil Godfrey said thieves often targeted bins in the hope of finding saleable items.

He said: “It’s not uncommon for charity shops to have their bins rifled.

“I have not heard of normal rubbish being stolen, so, on this occasion, the thief must have thought it was charity donations.”

Hopsiscare confirmed the thief’s pickings had been left out for the refuse collection.

l If you have information about the crime, contact PC Evans on 08452 777444, quoting crime reference KE/11/1711.