Sick theft of hospice collection

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A thief who stole a full charity box containing £40 donated to a cancer hospice has been branded as sickening, disgraceful and despicable.

A Cransley Hospice collection tin was stolen from Rothwell Craft and Sewing Centre in Bridge Street, Rothwell, on Saturday.

Joint owner Natalie Hill, whose mobile phone was also taken, said: “It’s disgraceful.

“Having my phone stolen is annoying and there’s no excuse for theft but I can replace it at a cost.

“But it made us feel sick to think that someone thinks it’s acceptable to steal from a charity.

“It’s not like it’s a national charity. Everybody knows someone who has help from Cransley.”

Many people go into the centre asking for sewing or craft advice, such as help with a sewing pattern, and Mrs Hill and business partner Sue White suggest they make a donation rather than charging for the service.

Mrs Hill, 38, of Desborough, left her phone on one of the craft tables as she helped a customer and only noticed it was gone at about 2.30pm.

Mrs White realised the collection tin was missing when she suggested a customer make a donation on Monday.

The collection would have been enough to fund a five-hour stint from a ward nurse at the Kettering hospice, which serves the north of the county.

The tin was last emptied in November and had collected about £20 since May.

Mrs Hill said there had been a lot of donations in recent weeks.

She said: “I dread to think how much was taken. It must have been in the region of £40.”

Diana Patrick, fundraising manager for the hospice, said: “We are saddened and disappointed that anybody in the local community could do it and take the money from us.”

Sgt Simon Lloyd, of the Kettering Rural Safer Community team, said: “It’s a despicable crime to steal from a charity and we are appealing to the conscience of those involved to come forward and either call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”