Thieves have caused heartache by stealing a charity box containing cash for a Robert Dunlop memorial fund at a shop in Ballymoney.
Owner of the jewellery shop Lindsey Nicholl has been left with a bill for thousands after the till and its contents plus a substantial amount of jewellery were stolen.
However, the loss of the charity box has caused the most upset.
Following the break-in, it was emptied of its funds and discarded in a nearby cemetery.
Lynsey’s father, Liam Beckett, was Robert Dunlop’s mechanic for over 20 years. Liam said: “The saddest part of the whole thing is losing the collection box.
“We’re very close to the Dunlop family and have been working with them since Robert’s death in 2008 to raise money to build a memorial sculpture of him.”
Lynsey said: “Joey has one, so it’s only right that Robert has one.
“My parents helped set up a sculpture committee and have been working with the family to raise the tens of thousands needed for the memorial. We don’t know how much money was in the box, but it could have been quite a bit. It’s a real setback.”
Mrs Nicholl is also counting the cost to her business. “Things are hard enough at the minute without having things stolen,” she said.
“The till itself is worth over £1,000 and they took quite a bit of the jewellery. We’re heading over to clean up and then we’ll open again tomorrow.
“We can’t afford to close, so it’ll be business as usual. But for something like this to happen is just so demoralising.”