A HEARTLESS thief has been slammed by police for raiding a charity shop that supports those grieving after a baby’s death.
A callous crook targeted the charity shop in the Baby Bereavement Centre, in Park Road, Hartlepool, and made off with cash, expensive clothing and even a charity box that was chained to a counter.
Detectives investigating say they are shocked by the “disgusting” nature of the crime and have called those responsible for the burglary last week “despicable”.
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The shop gives 10 per cent of its profits to the Hartlepool Baby Bereavement Support Group (BBSG), which helps those who have lost a young child.
Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon, District Commander for Hartlepool, said: “Anybody who targets a charity is despicable. It’s a crime that is totally inexcusable.
“There’s obviously someone out there who has got themselves so desperate they feel they can do this, or maybe they just don’t care.
“When people are giving up their free time to raise money for good causes and they have this taken away is disgusting.
“They are not just stealing from the charity, but everyone who benefits from it.”
The burglary was discovered at the charity shop on Friday, May 19, and is thought to have happened sometime from 2pm on the Wednesday, May 16.
The criminals had forced their way into the building and rifled through the store.
They made off with three prom dresses worth £400 each, one of which is bright red, six women’s dresses made by designers including Ted Baker, French Connection, Love Label and Dorothy Perkins.
A green BBSG charity box that was chained to the counter and full of donations was also swiped.
Supt Gudgeon added: “There will be someone out there who has been knocking on doors trying to sell these items. They may have been to pubs and clubs trying to pass them on.
“Anyone who has innocently bought these items or have been offered them should let us know.
“We just want to identify the offender.”
The shop was set up by Cate Thompson after she lost her baby, Jac, to cot death when he was just three days old in July 2000.
After Jac’s death, she was put in touch with Val Lake MBE, founder of Hartlepool Baby Bereavement Support Group, who helped her through the grieving process.
She went on to become secretary of the bereavement group.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact Detective Constable Simon Clark, of Hartlepool’s Major Crime Team, on the non-emergency 101 number or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.