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'Scruffy looking' man and woman raid Age Concern charity shop in Sandwich

A charity shop in Sandwich which raises money to help elderly people in the town has been targeted by thieves.

The “scruffy looking” man and woman went into the upstairs area of Age Concern in Cattle Market on Saturday and snatched some clothing.

They ran off when a customer spotted them and raised the alarm with a member of staff.

Volunteer Andy Styles outside the targeted shop
Volunteer Andy Styles outside the targeted shop

Dan Friend, a town councillor and head of retail at Age Concern Sandwich, says thefts such as this are taking money from those who really need it.

“It’s a struggle to raise money as it is without people stealing stock,” he said.

“We’re seen as an easy target and they seem to think it doesn’t matter because we don’t pay for the stock, but they’re actually stealing from the people who need the support.

“They are stealing potential funds that can help people.”

Cllr Friend says the thieves are believed to have been seen at the train station after the incident, which happened at around 1.30pm, and he is waiting to hear back from Network Rail in the hope the pair have been caught on CCTV.

He has also spoken to the town’s PCSO.

Cllr Friend was appointed as head of retail in February and in that time has revamped the charity’s two shops, in the Guildhall forecourt and Market Street, and tripled the takings.

Dan Friend, a town councillor and head of retail at Age Concern
Dan Friend, a town councillor and head of retail at Age Concern

He says Saturday’s theft was a one off and not something they see regularly at the shops.

“We haven’t really seen this before,” he said.

“I know there has been charity box thefts in the town, though.

“It’s very disappointing that this kind of thing happens.”

Money raised in the shops goes towards the running costs of Age Concern’s centre in Cattle Market which is a hub for people over 50 to meet up and enjoy lunches and access services including hairdressing, bathing and advice.

A spokesman for Kent Police said: "We received a report of theft from a charity shop in Cattle Market, Sandwich, on Saturday, September 23 2017.

"It is believed that between 1.30pm and 2.30pm a number of clothes items were stolen from inside the shop.

"Anyone who witnessed anything or who has information that would assist officers, and hasn’t already been in touch, is asked to call 01843 222289 quoting ZY/46057/17. Alternatively call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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