Monday 24 October 2016

Thieves steal charity box in aid of teenage cancer sufferer

Jemma Crew

Published 30/07/2016 | 11:41

Bank Street Newsagents Credit: Google Maps
Bank Street Newsagents Credit: Google Maps

Two thieves have been caught on CCTV stealing a collection box containing money to help a teenage cancer sufferer afford potentially life-saving treatment.

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The box, containing between £65 and £75, was taken from Bank Street News, in Hythe, Kent, at around 2.30pm on Wednesday July 27.

It contained funds for 16-year-old Kelly Turner, from Dover, who was diagnosed with an aggressive rare cancer in October 2015 and needs £1m for treatment to remove tumours near her liver in the United States.

Store CCTV footage shows a woman sliding the box across the till counter towards a boy behind her, who places it on the floor, lowers his bag and puts it inside, before the pair leave.

Store owner Mikin Patel, 30, said he got a phone call from an "upset" staff member when she discovered the box, which Mr Patel made out of old pic 'n' mix containers, was gone.

He said: "She told me the box has gone missing, and she just felt a bit gutted and guilty that she didn't see it.

"So I just went through the CCTV and I spotted it, so I phoned the police.

"I just felt disgusted actually, that you try to help someone and someone can just walk in and think it belongs to them.

He said he reassured the staff member, saying: "Do not take it on your shoulders and blame yourself, blame the people who took it."

Kelly is aware of what had happened and is planning to visit the store, Mr Patel said.

"Hopefully now it is out in public and people saw what's happened we can raise that million for her now," he added.

Lots of customers have been phoning the shop asking how they can help, and Mr Patel has been pointing them to the teenager's JustGiving page.

A regular customer who usually drops a pound into the box each morning handed over £100 in an envelope when he learned what had happened, Mr Patel said.

And £40 was raised in cash on Saturday morning from his local customers.

A spokeswoman for Kent Police said: "Kent Police is investigating a report of a theft of a charity box in Bank Street, Hythe.

"It is reported that two people entered a newsagent at about 2.30pm on Wednesday 27 July and stole the charity box containing about £60.

Anyone with information should call Kent Police on 01843 222289 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting reference ZY/025644/16.

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