Thieves have deprived a hospice of up to £9,500 worth of much-needed funding by swiping charity bags from doorsteps.
Staff at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice were horrified when they realised that thieves were collecting bags full of items destined for its charity shops ahead of scheduled collections carried out by its own staff.
The hospice’s marketing manager, Madeleine Oldale, said that fund-raisers first noticed that the number of donations they were receiving had nose-dived two months ago.
Since then the hospice’s team of drivers, sent out to collect the bags distributed to letterboxes throughout the borough, have reported seeing other vans taking away the bagged items.
Madeleine said: “In one area where we’d normally get 80 bags back we got just three.
“It’s a widespread problem. We don’t know who these people are.”
The hospice, in North Anston, requires £2.5 million of funding each year to provide care and support to children and young adults with a shortened life expectancy.
Around £850,000 worth of that figure is raised by the charity’s shops.
Madeleine believes that as many as 500 bags could have been stolen by opportunist doorstep thieves in recent months, with an average price of between £15 and £19.
The hospice is now asking people to make donations at shops and collection points, with information available at www.bluebellwood.org or on 01909 517360.