Workers at a charity shop which raises money for Hartlepool & District Hospice slammed thieves who emptied the till while their backs were turned.
Two crooks helped themselves to cash from the till at the shop in Murray Street at around 2pm today.
They stole the £25 of takings which volunteers Lorraine Shout and Sue Stevenson had made that day.
Lorraine said: “I think it’s disgusting. We are really shaken up and feel sick.
“We don’t understand why they would steal from a charity shop.”
The thieves struck while the charity shop’s till was briefly left unattended.
Karen Witherley, the hospice’s senior retail manager, said: “We are supporting the town. The money is for the hospice and they are stealing from it.
“I feel sorry for the volunteers who worked all day to get the money.
“They are very passionate about the shop and have been there since it opened. They have been left shaken by it, which is also not nice for them at this time of year.”
Lorraine and Sue launched the shop in June.
The thieves are described as being in their early 20s. One wore a blue jacket and blue jeans.
The second man wore a white jacket and jeans. Both were wearing baseball caps.
Police confirmed they investigating the crime.
Anyone with information can contact them on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.