COLEFORD traders are outraged by a disgraceful spate of break-ins to their shops which has seen hundreds of pounds of cash, meant for good causes, stolen.

At least two shops were broken into last week with seven charity boxes stolen.

And the thieves have been roundly condemned by local people for their heartless acts.

Two bricks were used to push open a window frame at The Barber Shop on Market Place where four charity boxes for the Salvation Army were taken.

And a fish and chip shop on St John’s Street was also the subject of a burglary that saw another three of the boxes taken.

The theft at the Tram Fish and Chip Shop was particularly galling for owner Andy Childs as it was to raise money for his brother’s grandson who needs a spinal operation costing around £40,000.

Mr Childs, who lives above his premises, described how he discovered the charity boxes had been stolen, saying: “It was on Monday September 17. I was woken when I heard smashed glass and I came down to the shop and found that the door window had been smashed.

“Three charity boxes that were on our counter had disappeared. The cable to our till had been cut, as the charity boxes were chained to it, and some coins were spilt over the floor of the shop with the glass.

“It was at about quarter to three on the Monday morning. I directly rang the police who were here within ten minutes.”

Thankfully, Mr Childs has CCTV inside his premises and said he has caught them on camera.

“They do this to feed their habits, unfortunately. It is low life which is in every town.

“I know what I want to do to the person responsible for this but the law does not allow you,” added Mr Childs.

Mr Keith Morgan has been raising funds for charity for many years but was struck by the thefts on the same night, the thieves taking four boxes.

Mr Morgan said; “I came down on Monday morning and my right hand pane of glass at the front of the shop was pushed in. I have kept the two bricks used in case they are needed for evidence.

“When I came down on Monday I could see the charity boxes were gone and thought ‘What the hell would you want to break in here for?’

Anyone with information should contact the police by calling 101 quoting incident number 66.