THIEVES broke into a charity shop to steal £200 from the safe just two weeks before Christmas – one of three raids targeting good causes within a week.

The heartless burglars broke in to the British Heart Foundation shop on Friday night, just a week after a clothing bank belonging to the charity had been emptied.

And last Wednesday a charity donation box for Help for Heroes was snatched from outside a home Christmas lights display in St Ives.

BHF shop staff discovered the break-in at the Huntingdon High Street premises on Saturday morning. It is thought, the raiders forced their way into the store by smashing an extractor fan.

As well as making off with £200 in cash, the thieves also rifled through the shop's jewellery for items of value.

Assistant manager Trish Shrapnel said: “People are horrified at what has happened – not only for the fact that someone has been in there, but because they are possibly depriving someone of a chance of life.

“That money could have been used towards research or equipment.”

Now the store is appealing for donations of goods to help it make up the shortfall, and to replace around 100kg of clothes that were stolen on December 2 from a textiles bank in Alconbury.

Mrs Shrapnel said: “Our driver had bagged up the contents and left them inside the bank, but when he went to collect them the next day they had gone.

“There were 30 bags in there, which is probably 100kg of clothing.”

Just days after the BHF shop break-in, thieves struck overnight in St Ives by snatching a charity box left out for donations to a Christmas lights display in Hill Rise.

Every year Richard and June Forway decorate their house for a good cause – this year the injured servicemen's charity Help for Heroes.

A donation box fixed to a post bolted into the ground was taken during the night last Tuesday (December 6), though it had been emptied by Mrs Forway that day. It had raised £266 in just 10 days.

She said: “I know it's the day and age we are in now, but it is so annoying. You can't get much lower than stealing from a charity.”

Police are investigating both incidents, and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

INFORMATION: If you have any information, call Cambridgeshire police on 101.