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CCTV of the thief taking
the charity money
by Rachel Hovenden
A callous thief poses as a charity volunteer and claims her
son is recovering from leukaemia - before walking out with a pub's
A heartless conwoman is believed to have stolen cash from
charity boxes across north Kent.
The serial thief even pretends she is replacing the
previous volunteer because they had died.
Wendy Head, who runs The Ship Inn, in Green Street Green
Road, Dartford, was busy serving Sunday lunches when the blonde
woman - thought to be in her 40s - came in with a boy she
said was her son.
She claimed to be from Demelza and had come to collect money
from the pub’s charity tin.
The woman told customers her son, who had short brown hair
and was, thought to be about 12 to 14-years-old, had just recovered
The woman steals the
money from a collection tin at the Ship Inn, Dartford
When Mrs Head, 47, asked her for ID she said she didn’t
have any and flashed one of the charity’s leaflets at her, taking
the collection pot.
Mrs Head (pictured below left) needed to serve customers and by
the time she had finished, the woman had gone - leaving a fake
receipt behind for £108.59.
She said: “It made me feel a bit sick really – that they can
steal from a children’s charity, any charity, that they could stoop
“I would really like them to be caught, to put a stop to it as
soon as I can.”
Two weeks earlier, the woman took an EllenorLions Hospice
collection tin from Northfleet Newsagents in The Hive on April
The hospice was alerted when their official collector went
to the shop and found that an unknown woman had already been
The hospice then contacted other shops and businesses it knew
had its tins before the woman struck again at The Earl Grey pub, in
Vale Road, Northfleet, last Wednesday.
Because the landlady had been alerted, staff called the police,
but she managed to get away.
The woman also went into Laydons Sweet Shop, in Stone, on May 3
and offered to pick up its Kent Association for the Blind
She claimed the volunteer had died and the money was
now going to Demelza.
And last Friday the bogus collector approached the owner of Jo
Jo’s hair and beauty in Old Road West, Gravesend, asking for £5
donations to Demelza.
She had a collection tin with her and a child in the back of her
blue Peugeot estate.
Police said the woman was stocky and wore a long black cardigan
or jacket with leggings. On some occasions she had a fake ID on a
The boy wore a red Aadidas top with jeans.
Steve Hoy, Demelza’s chief executive, said: “It is very
disappointing that someone would seek to obtain cash meant for
local charities in this way. We are looking into these allegations
as a matter of urgency and we are in contact with the police in
order to resolve this matter.”
All three charities said their collectors always have ID and an
official receipt or payment book.
A Kent Police spokeswoman said: "Officers are investigating a
number of incidents where a woman has entered a public place with a
boy and claimed to be collecting donations for Demelza.
“Such incidents have been reported in Stone, Longfield,
Northfleet, Swanscombe, and Gillingham.”