Elderly volunteers targeted in Halifax charity shop raids

RSPCA Union Street, Halifax.
RSPCA Union Street, Halifax.

Charity shop volunteers are on high alert after thieves used distraction tactics in a spate of raids in the area.

Overgate Hospice in Ovenden, RSPCA on Union Street and Mind on Russell Street are three of the charities to have been targeted in recent days.

A pair of thieves entered the Overgate store on Keighley Road earlier today and emptied the till having distracted a 80-year-old volunteer by knocking a jigsaw on the floor.

Later, a man asked for assistance from a volunteer, also 80, at the RSPCA premises whilst an accomplice helped himself to the day's takings.

Further examples have been reported across stores in the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield Bradford & District Branch over the past week.

Overgate’s Director of Income Laura Golding said: “We’re not talking huge amounts of money here, they took a day’s takings, about £120, but our charity shops make up 28% of our total funding and it makes a big difference to us.

“It’s really sad. We’re here in the community trying to help some of the most vulnerable people in Calderdale and then this sort of thing happens.

“The volunteer is 80 years old and had no idea what had happened. We rely on kind-hearted volunteers like her. She’s devastated, absolutely heartbroken.

“Charity shops can’t afford CCTV or security and these people know that.”

On the RSPCA Union Street incident, a West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: "We responded to reports of a burglary at the premises at 14:50 today.

"Any witnesses or anybody with any information is requested to contact police on 101."