Charity shop plea after woman ‘seen walking off with donations’ in Welwyn Garden City

A WOMAN has been spotted apparently removing donated goods from outside a charity shop in broad daylight.

She was seen allegedly walking away with a horde of goods left outside the Cancer Research UK shop in WGC at the weekend.

And this week it was revealed it is an ongoing problem.

The incident prompted charity bosses to make this plea to residents: “Please donate your unwanted goods during shop opening hours.”

Eyewitness Wanda Hornsey contacted the Welwyn Hatfield Times after saying she saw a woman “openly going through the donations left on the doorstep”.

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“I was very angry,” said Mrs Hornsey, 42.

“I confronted her about the fact she was taking from a cancer charity and she just told me she could do what she wanted and the shop just throw it all away anyway.

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“I told her I knew that this was not true and that the shop manager is very careful to ensure he gets the best he can from all the items donated to the charity.

“In the end she staggered away with three huge shopping bags full and a laptop bag full of stuff too.”

Michael Bateman, manager of the Cancer Research UK shop in Howardsgate, said: “Throughout the six years I’ve been here, it’s been a problem. We’ve had numerous reports from our donators that they’ve seen people taking things from outside the shop.

“I think it’s totally immoral. Taking from a charity shop – it probably doesn’t get much lower than that.

“It would be most beneficial to myself and my volunteers if people could make their donations during trading hours.”

Pam Edwards, manager of the Isabel Hospice charity shop in Stonehills, agreed. “It would be beneficial if people brought their donations during opening hours,” she said.

Hertfordshire Constabulary said removing donations from outside charity shops was a crime, and anyone caught doing so would be charged with theft.

A police spokeswoman said: “Once a donation has been left outside a charity shop, it becomes the property of the shop. We would treat any reports of somebody taking those donations as theft.”

Throughout the Sainsbury’s development, parking spaces outside the charity shops in Howardsgate are designated loading bays, so that residents can park up and drop off their donations during trading hours.

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