East Budleigh charity thief - police appeal

Donation bags left out for the British Heart Foundation have been stolen from East Budleigh, the police have revealed. Exmouth police are appealing for witnesses.

The police are keen to trace the heartless thief who stole from charity in East Budleigh.

Officers at Exmouth said enquiries were continuing after a number of reports that donation bags left out in Middletown Lane for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) had recently been stolen.

A BHF van driver collecting filled bags reported seeing a red Toyota car driving away with the charity’s bags.

British Heart Foundation spokesman Melanie Kowalski said: “There have been a number of reports of bogus collectors operating in this area who are stealing stock bags which have been left out for collection.

“These collectors are working purely for commercial gain – none of the proceeds from the bags stolen will be going to charity.

“Stealing bags that have been left out for the British Heart Foundation is akin to robbing people with heart conditions of a better quality of life.”

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The heart charity said it was easy to spot a bona fide collector, because they display the BHF logo and all carry identification cards, which must be produced on request.

The charity said donation thefts were on the increase and having a knock-on effect by 25 per cent on household collections – a �3million loss to the BHF.

The spokesman added: “We would urge all householders to be aware of suspicious activity to ensure their donations reach their intended recipient.

“Householders should report any suspicious activity immediately to the police.”

Anyone with information about the donation thefts is asked to contact Exmouth police on 08452 777444, quoting crime reference KE/11/795.

• Donations of clothing, bric-a-brac, toys and books can be made at your local BHF shop. To find your nearest shop, telephone 08444125000 or visit www.bhf.org.uk/shops