THIEVES have been slammed as ‘despicable’ after stealing charity bags full of donated clothes.
The criminals snatched the bags from the driveway of a property in Barnton a few hours after the homeowner had put them out for collection.
The bags were destined for a recycling company which supports North West Air Ambulance, and distributed charity bags in Northwich last week. The thieves struck early in the morning last Thursday.
“The Air Ambulance do a great job and need to raise money,” said the homeowner, who did not wish to be named.
“Someone with an eye for the main chance is going round before they collect the bags and pinching them – it’s absolutely despicable.”
The man, who lives in a cul-de-sac, put the bags out the previous night for them to be collected during the requested time of between 8am and 3pm.
“I left them out overnight at the bottom of the drive, and when I opened the curtains at 8.30am and looked down the drive the bags had gone,” he said.
“I thought they were quick off the mark, but about an hour later an Air Ambulance van arrived and circled round and drove back out after finding no bags.
“The bags must have been stolen, and I rang the Air Ambulance to tell them they are having their stuff nicked.”
Heywood-based Recycling Solutions is contracted to collect for North West Air Ambulance in the north west. Their vans bear Recycling Solutions and North West Air Ambulance livery, and their drivers carry identification.
Recycling Solutions director James Cook said the theft of charity bags was a huge problem nationally.
“It is costing the charity sector millions of pounds, and the North West Air Ambulance £1,000 a week,” he said.
“The value of second hand clothing is astronomical, and people also steal from clothing banks.”
If people receive a clothing request from a charity they should check with their council to see if it is genuine, he said, and Recycling Solutions can arrange for items to be collected rather than them being left on the doorstep.