Observer Comment: Charity shop break-in... the lowest of the low

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• THE lowest of the low, heartless – it would be easy to exhaust labels to apply to those who broke into the hospice shop at Rye this week.

The charity itself described it as “callous” and most people will be rightly appalled by what took place.

But sadly, in these times, it is not an infrequent occurrence. In recent years in Rye we have seen the theft of Poppy Appeal charity boxes and a burglary at a centre for disabled people where thieves not only made off with a gaming console but helped themselves to cakes the charity users had made to sell at a fund raising event.

The days when even criminals had a code of conduct have long gone. In times when thefts are often fuelled by a need to buy drugs nothing is off-limits or taboo anymore.

Charity shops, which often cannot afford to install expensive surveillance and security devices, are nothing more than soft targets for thieves.

But however desperate the need for money in this latest case, what will shock many is the extensive damage caused within, which was so bad the shop was unable to open for a day. Even the kitchen, used by volunteers to make a cuppa, was smashed up.

The theft happened on the same night as Rye PCSO Neil Holden was addressing councillors about the need for more CCTV cameras in Rye.

Rye is the only town of it’s size in the entire district that is not protected by permanent CCTV cameras.

In the past it has led to Away-Day criminals, displaced by the tight security at Hastings shopping centre, hopping on a train and targeting Rye shops and businesses.

The sad thing is that however shocked and outraged we may be by a theft from a well loved charity, this is unlikely to be the last incident of this kind that we will see.



• THE local 2011 bonfire season sparks into life on Saturday with all the Rother societies descending on Hastings for a night of firey fun.

Battle’s annual bonfire celebration is rapidly approaching on November 5 and, despite clashing with Lewes, the Bonfire Boyes are hopeful of another good turn out.

Rather disappointingly for the Boyes, in 2010 the charity collection was down on previous years.

This meant local charities and societies missed out, but with the number of people who attended the event, they shouldn’t have done.

These events are free to attend and always provide an entertaining night out.

So it’s really not too much to ask to dig deep for a bit of loose change when the collection buckets come past.

After all, it is your community which will lose out.