HEARTLESS thieves broke into a shop and stole a charity box and raffle prizes to help the sick and the elderly.
The mindless offenders also took more than £400 in takings and deposits from Hartlepool shop Seams So Easy, whose owner Pam Brown makes costumes for dozens of the town’s dance school pupils, as well as curtains and clothes alterations.
The crooks even snatched a list on the wall, which detailed customer’s telephone numbers and what items they wanted making, leaving the 55-year-old’s business in disarray.
Thieves also made off from the Elwick Road shop with a Cancer Research box containing about £10-worth of change, £20 raffle cash and the raffle prize of an Easter egg charity basket, with £100 worth of chocolate eggs inside.
Disabled Hartlepool woman Teresa Falkingham had financed the raffle prize herself to raise money for Hosana Community Pilgrimage Trust to send ill people and their families to Lourdes, and for the elderly people in Charlotte Grange Nursing Home, in Claxton Street.
Pam, of Coniscliffe Road, and Teresa, 46, of Kingsley Avenue, slammed those responsible saying they were “shocked and disgusted” by what they had done.
Mum-of four Teresa, who is disabled after having a stroke nine years ago, added: “To take money from ill people or their families who need a break, or to take money from elderly people is just awful.
“From the bottom of my heart I’m just saddened.
“I’m so upset. I’d do anything to help anybody, and I spent money from my own pocket on that Easter Egg basket, and took egg donations from elderly people for it, for them to take it.
“It’s dreadful. I’m trying to do a bit for the community and this is what happens. I’d really like to build the Easter basket up again if anyone would like to contribute I’d be so grateful.”
And mother-of-three Pam, who has been a dress-maker for over 30 years and has owned the shop for eight years, said: “I couldn’t believe it. It’s awful isn’t it?
“I suppose I should count myself lucky that they didn’t bring a spray can with them and destroy all the fabric. I suppose I should be grateful to them for that.
“I don’t normally leave cash on the premises but it had been one of those days on Friday and I just left everything. I’ll never do it again.”
The grandmother-of-five added: “The only thing is they took a list off the wall with customer’s phone numbers on and what they wanted making so now I’m a bit stuck.
“I’d like to ask anyone who is expecting me to make outfits for them to ring the shop or call in so I can take their details again.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “At 9am on Monday morning we received a call reporting a burglary which is believed to have occurred some time between the shop being locked up on Friday and being opened up on Monday morning.
“Police have arrested two men, aged 35 and 32, on suspicion of burglary and they have been bailed pending further inquiries.”
Officers would also like help from any members of the public who witnessed any suspicious activity at the shop over the weekend to contact Detective Constable John Roberts on (01642) 302178.
Anyone who would like to donate a chocolate egg to the charity Easter basket can telephone Teresa on (01429) 235866.
Any customers expecting costumes, curtains, or alterations from Pam can contact her on (01429) 866966 to re-supply their details.