Charity shop smashed in botched heist

Burglars forced their way into an Oxford charity shop earlier this month, resulting in hundreds of pounds of lost revenue.

The thieves targeted the Helen & Douglas House vintage charity shop in Summertown, taking clothes, jewellery and a basket.

The burglars had first tried to break into the main Helen & Douglas Home shop, causing some damage, before turning to the adjacent vintage shop run by the charity, where they managed to force their way in. 

All the profits from the store go to the hospice in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, which provides care for children and young adults with life-shortening illnesses.

David Cryer, the charity’s Head of Retail, said: “Although no money was stolen, we are missing about £500 in lost trade. The shop was shut for two days waiting for police to check the premises and to clear up and restock the shelves.”

Recordings from the CCTV security system indicate that at least two people were involved in the break-in.

He added: “It has obviously caused a lot of distress for the staff, especially the volunteers, who come in and spend their free time making the shop look nice and generating profits for the charity. For them to come in and find this is incredibly disappointing.”

Although insured for the damage to the door and shop fittings, the charity will not be compensated for the loss of income or stock.

Mr Cryer said: “We are talking to our insurance company, but it is unlikely that we will be fully compensated for the break-in. In particular the stock is not insured, as it is donated and therefore unique, and it is not possible to put an exact value on it.”

He added: “We are now asking for support from local people to donate their vintage and retro items, to help us re-stock the shop, and also for more volunteers to help us keep the shop open for longer hours.”

Assistant manager Karen Thomas told the Oxford Mail: “These people don’t think the same as we do. By getting into the shop, they believe they have got these clothes for free. But they don’t think about the people who donated the clothes, who wanted the money to go to the children.”

She added: “The children this money helps are very sick and every penny counts.”

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Police were called to Helen and Douglas House on Banbury Road, Summertown, at 9.38am on Tuesday [8th May] morning. Sometime between 6pm on Saturday and Tuesday, the back door had been forced and costume jewellery was stolen.”