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Aug 23 2011

Charity shop donations targeted by thieves

The Harrow Observer has an interesting article this week about charity shops being targeted by thieves, although it’s not what you’d immediately think.  Many of the charity shops in the Northolt Road seem to wake up each morning to piles of donations left outside their front door, despite notices asking people not to. The first problem this produces is a mound of wet, damaged donations that will probably end up going straight into the bin; the second is that a second group of people will come along, and dig through the donations before helping themselves to anything of use or value.  The end result? A number of torn bags, with articles spread all across the pavement.

St Luke’s Hospice, who we’re very fond of here at iharrow.com, are the feature of this article – Maureen Farrar, operations manager for the charity, said: “This is not a new problem. People leave rubbish strewn around. People donate out of kindess and some people genuinely believe their donations will get to the shop and are genuinely upset when they find out it doesn’t.”

If you do have any donations, St Luke’s are open from 9.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Saturday. Our local shop in the Northolt Road is happy to take donations any time during working hours, although they do ask that if you have a lot – and we’ve been there 4-5 times over the last week with the results of a summer clearout – that you you deliver to the back entrance, which is accessibly via the service road between Whitby Road and Wargrave Road. The entrance is well sign-posted, and all you have to do is ring the doorbell. Better still, you’ll save of having to pay for parking or risking a parking ticket.

In the article, which reports on the Pinner store’s problems, Sergeant Roni Doyle of Pinner Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “There have been thefts from St Luke’s. We have caught three people recently who were given £80 fines, anyone caught going through the bags will be given an £80 fine. If they are caught a second time it will be considered a criminal offence.”

St Luke’s can also collect donations if you have a lot, or they’re big and bulky – just call your local shop for more details.

As an aside, St Luke’s has never turned down any of our donations. Unlike another Charity shop just over the road, they’re happy to take pretty much anything, including all clothing items, no matter what the condition.  We queried this, and it turns out that even if something is stained – in our example, a number of baby/infant clothes stained with that permanent dye known as tomato-based baby food – the item will be sold to the ‘rag man’, so everything you donate really does make a difference.

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