Up to 80 bags of clothes stolen from charity
Up to 80 bags of clothing donated to Rathdrum Cancer Support were stolen from two clothes banks after the locks were removed.
In conjunction with Myles Doyle from Avoca Recycling Centre and Wicklow County Council, the group has been reaping the benefit of clothing donation bins that have been extremely well supported by the public. Other charities who benefit from the scheme include The Wicklow Hospice Foundation and Avoca Senior Citizens.
'We have been receiving such great support from the public so this has hit us members hard, as well as everyone who so generously donated any clothes. It's one of our main fundraising sources. It's such a pity that people have been donating clothing for a great cause, only for someone else to pocket the money for their own benefit,' said Bill Porter.
The two clothing donation bins are located at the car park at the end of Rathdrum's Main Street. Bill usually empties the bins every two days due the amount of clothes donated on a daily basis and estimates there were up to 80 bags contained in the bins.
He had difficulty in opening the locks to the clothes banks on Friday so arranged to meet a locksmith on Saturday to break open the locks protected by a cowl with a crowbar. That too proved unsuccessful so a welder arrived on Sunday morning. However, after removing the cowls, the welder discovered that the locks had already been removed and all the contents from the clothes donation bins were gone.
'To be honest I don't know how they managed to remove the locks but it was obviously a very professional job. Now I think the reason we couldn't get them open on Friday was because the locks and cowl had already been interfered with. We fitted the cowls because the bins had been broken into before but this is the first time where everything was stolen,' added Bill.
The matter has been reported to the Gardai and Bill believes the theft probably occurred sometime between 7 p.m. on Saturday evening and 7.30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
'It's so disappointing, especially when you consider all the great support the clothes drive has received. We will have to look at installing CCTV cameras in the location of the clothes donation bins which could prove costly but we don't have any other choice,' added Bill.