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Charity shops in Bromley having to deal with thefts 'on a daily basis'

PUBLISHED: 09:36 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:43 23 November 2016

Thieves often steal clothing from charity shops

Thieves often steal clothing from charity shops

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Some shops are having to spend money on expensive CCTV cameras to combat thieves

CRA chief executive Robin OsterleyCRA chief executive Robin Osterley

Charity shops in Bromley are having to deal with thefts on a daily basis and some have had to spend money on CCTV cameras to combat thieves.

Volunteers at a number of shops in the town centre have spoken out about the damaging effect it has on their morale when they realise items have been stolen.

One store manager who had recently begun working in the borough said he was ‘flabbergasted’ by the trend.

“On a daily basis people are stealing items,” he said. “We just had one five minutes ago. He tried to take a coat. He just put it on and tried to walk out.

“We have only recently put in cameras. We were blind before, but now we are finding them all the time. It is shocking.”

A volunteer at another shop added: “It happens pretty much every day. It can be at least four or five items on a bad day.

“It is really upsetting. We are trying to raise money for the charity and people seem to think the shop is for them.”

A worker at a third shop commented: “You feel let down by it. People don’t realise why we are here and what we are working for.”

Clothing, bags and shoes are among the items most frequently taken, although one volunteer said people take “whatever they can fit in their bag”, with a china elephant among items recently stolen.

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the Charity Retailers Association, said more and more charity shops are having to install CCTV to tackle thieves – often at considerable cost.

“It has a direct effect on their bottom line,” he explained. “Every penny they receive goes to a good cause, so if you steal something from a charity shop you are taking something straight out of the hands of the charity.

Mr Osterley said CCTV is the only way of getting the evidence the police require.

“It is difficult to get prosecutions and very often the value of the goods is relatively low, and as a result the police say it is not worth our while investigating,” he added.

“It does not happen all the time, but it has been known to happen.”

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