ST NEOTS: Thieves caught legs-a-dangling in British Heart Foundation bins

BURGLARS are being caught scavenging through charity shop bins desperate to steal goods to sell on the black market.

Staff at the British Heart Foundation in St Neots said they have been shocked to discover that thieves wearing head torches have had their heads stuffed into the bins and their legs pointed “skywards”.

The High Street store has had to create a secure drop off area for donations as thieves were regularly stealing the donations which had been left on the doorstep.

The charity has been a target for crooks in the run up to Christmas, with driver David Hale catching thieves red-handed as they helped themselves to collection bags outside people’s homes in Hartford, Huntingdon.

Numerous thefts from the front doorstep have taken place in the past three weeks.

Ursula Harradine, manager of the St Neots store, said: “Thefts of our donation goods are a real problem. It has been going on for a little while but it is steadily getting worse.

“I don’t suppose the recession helps but whether people want to make a bit extra money, I’ve got no idea. It means we don’t have as much stock as people are willing to donate to us.

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“If people have left something for us on the doorstep, it is often not on the shop floor when they next come to have a look round.”

Ms Harradine noticed the problem after seeing goods on the BHF doorstep early in the morning before going on the school run. The donations were gone by the time she returned.

Street workers are said to have noticed similar thefts, Ms Harradine said.

As a result, the BHF has created a secure bank at the back of the store which people can use to ensure their donations are safe.

“We just want people to know there is somewhere they can leave their goods and know that they will be received,” Ms Harradine said.

INFORMATION: Contact the British Heart Foundation in St Neots on 01480 210502.