Belfast Telegraph

Charity shop thieves branded 'despicable'

By Helen McDowell

'Despicable' thieves are targeting charities across east Belfast.

Burglars targeted two shops run by War on Want, within a week.

Now a charity box belonging to East Belfast Community Counselling Centre (EBCCC) has been stolen.

Local DUP MLA Robin Newton, has branded those responsible for the charity box theft as "despicable and beneath contempt".

He said: "The valuable work of the EBCCC is vital in the east of the city as never before.

"They provide a service that unfortunately is needed by many in the community across East Belfast.

"Delivering their services to those who may be suffering from depression, addiction to alcohol or drugs, or anxiety and stress, in a non-judgemental way is a vital lifeline for the clients.

"However unlikely it might seem, the thieves who stole the charity collection box with an estimated £100 should search their conscience. It is not too late to do the decent thing and return the box and the money."

He appealed: "Anyone who knows anything about this incident should tell EBCCC or the PSNI."

Within the past fortnight, a War on Want shop in Holywood, and another at Cregagh Road, were broken into. The Holywood burglary was discovered on October 19, while the Cregagh Road incident came to light on October 24.

About £400 was stolen from each, and damage of between £200 and £450 was caused in each break-in.

The PSNI however does not believe these two burglaries are connected.

It is understood the culprits forced their way into the shop safes.

Anyone with information is asked to ring 0845 600 8000.

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