Police are investigating the theft of donated clothes from charity collection banks across Ballymoney and Causeway Coast and Glens.
Four bins belonging to the CAN charity have been damaged and donations taken from inside since April.
CAN is a Ballymoney based charity which works to improve the independence and employment prospects of its members. The thefts come during a difficult financial time for charities more generally. The thefts directly impact CAN’s members by reducing funding streams for the important projects which benefit some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Chief Inspector Catherine Magee said: “We have been working with CAN to prevent these thefts. The charity has been very proactive in adopting new crime prevention measures such as collecting donations more often and fitting new locks to collection banks. Charities like CAN do great work with public support and generosity. It’s dreadful to see thieves steal from collection banks as soft targets in this way.
“We would like people to call us if they notice suspicious activity around collection sites. It may be difficult to distinguish between someone dropping items off and someone stealing donations, but we all have a good sense for something that just doesn’t seem right. For example, if a car or van has pulled up outside a collection bin site late at night, or someone is using cutting tools around a collection bank, please give us a call. It is always better for you to make that call rather than police missing an opportunity to make an arrest.
Police and the charity are keen to stress that CAN has not been specifically targeted and that donors should not be put off donating to charity collection banks.
Clare Cushnahan from CAN said: “Our work is very important and the generosity of the public in making donations should not be undermined by a small group of criminals. We have around thirty collection banks in the local area and I hope people continue to donate in confidence.”