Police are appealing for information after thieves broke into two businesses in St Neots town centre and stole four charity boxes.
The offenders used crowbars to smash their way into Wheelers in St Mary’s Street and Image Development in Priory Lane and stole boxes that were clearly marked with the details of charities raising money for cancer research, sick children and the blind.
The first theft happened at Wheelers just before 3am on June 23 when the offenders used a crowbar to smash through a door. Staff there were collecting money for Macmillan Cancer Research, Great Ormond Street Hospital and a sight-savers charity. Co-owner, Darren Davis, told The Hunts Post he received a call at 3am from his alarm company and arrived at the shop to find police already there.
“At first I was just relived that none of the customer’s bikes had been stolen and it wasn’t until the next day that I noticed the charity boxes were missing,” he said.
“I have reimbursed the money to Great Ormond Street as I felt so bad and I knew there was £25 in the box.”
The second break-in happened at Image Development overnight on June 22-23 when the thieves again used crowbars to smash their way in.
They stole a box, containing £300, which was raising money for the St Neots-based charity Northern Soul Against Cancer.
Owner Steve Barnes discovered the damage at 7.50am when he arrived at work to find glass everywhere.
“They caused extensive damage and the only reason it hasn’t affected our business is because we have local and loyal customers,” he said.
Mr Barnes, who runs a photography business, which includes wedding photography, said his first thought was whether his computer, containing photos of recent weddings, had been damaged.
“The first thing I did was to check to make sure the computers were backed-up as I can’t go out and reshoot the weddings.”
He said he was then devastated to discover the charity box was missing. “We know the guy who set up the Northern Soul Against Cancer charity and this will cause a lot of distress as £300 is a lot of money to him. I can’t believe someone would stoop so low as to steal a charity box.”
Mr Barnes has asked that anyone who wishes to make a donation to the charity to contact him at the shop.
Police have a description of one man who was seen at Wheelers and he is said to be white, about 50 and stocky. He wore a dark sweatshirt and flat cap.