A SHAMELESS thief was caught on CCTV stealing a mountain rescue charity box from a Radcliffe hairdressers for the second time — this time armed with wire clippers.
The Barber Shop in Deansgate was targeted last Wednesday by a man who stole Bolton Mountain Rescue Team and Children’s Air Ambulance collection tins containing about £50 in total.
Last week's theft
Another Bolton Mountain Rescue team box had been stolen from the barber's last August, prompting owner Gary Melia to chain the two boxes to each other and to a shelf.
But this time the thief entered the shop with wire clippers and, on the CCTV footage, appears to cut through the chain before hiding the boxes under his coat and leaving.
The incident happened at 1.40pm, but it was not until the following day that Mr Melia realised the boxes had gone and examined the CCTV footage.
He said: “For someone to take from charity is low and you would hope no one would do that. Working people give their spare change to this box and they expect it to go somewhere, but then some scumbag thinks it is theirs to take.”
In the footage, the thief enters the barber shop and sits down near the collection boxes.
He appears to handle them, possibly using the wire clippers to cut one of the chains and then makes an excuse to leave, telling the member of staff he needs to go to a cash machine.
After several minutes, he returns and, while the barber is distracted, clips and removes the boxes, concealing them under his jacket or in his pockets.
He then pretends to have an argument with his girlfriend on the phone and tells the barber he will have to leave and go straight home.
Mr Melia added: “I am certain it is the same man who stole the charity box last August.
“He knows what he is doing. He targeted us deliberately, bringing wire clippers with him and coming in when there was just one member of staff working.
“You just do not expect a charity box to be stolen. It is very frustrating that it has happened to us twice.”
In August, Mr Melia released CCTV footage of a man stealing the original tin, which contained between £30 and £40, but the man was never identified.
Mr Melia is a member of the Bolton team’s support group and helps with fundraising, cleaning vehicles and other voluntary tasks.
Garry Rhodes, Bolton Mountain Rescue team leader, said: “Collectively all our boxes raise a tremendous amount of our income, so the theft of one box has repercussions.
“Last year we lost between £250 and £300 from charity box thefts, quite a substantial figure in terms of donations.”
“The real losers are the public who are putting money in the boxes, and that is such a shame.”
A police spokesman called the crime “despicable”.
He added: “This man must have been planning his attack to arrive with a pair of wire clippers on him. If anyone has any information I would urge you to contact the police as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Last August's theft