HEARTLESS thieves are “crippling” a charity by stealing its donation bags from residents’ doorsteps.
British Heart Foundation (BHF) bosses say thieves are taking the bags before the charity’s drivers have the chance to collect them.
Deborah Tonks, assistant store manager at the charity’s Pontefract shop, said: “These thefts are crippling us.
“I want to appeal to residents to watch out when they put donation bags outside their homes.
“Our drivers go out and collect bags at around 8.30am, but these thieves are waiting for people to put out their bags and then getting in there earlier than us. It’s disgraceful.
“People have told us about bags being taken but we can only report it to the police if they have the vehicle’s registration number.
“Making people aware of what’s happening is the only way we can think of to try to stop it.”
Mrs Tonks said last year 20 per cent of the bags handed out were returned, but this year the figure had dropped to just nine per cent.
Residents can bring their donations into shops across the Five Towns or telephone to have their bags picked up at a specific time.
The charity also encourages residents to bring in electrical equipment and furniture, as well as damaged clothes and books which can be sold to recycling firms.
Mrs Tonks added: “We can’t make any money for the charity if we have nothing to sell.
“It is not just the charity they are stealing from, we have to pay our staff to go out and collect the bags but it is such a waste when there are no bags to collect.”
For more information about donating items or about collections, call the Pontefract store on 01977 600522.