CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Charity donation box grabbed in latest hit on West Hampstead shops

Raiders also strike at dentist's surgery in West End Lane

19 July, 2018 — By Tom Foot

A DONATION box was stolen from a charity shop in West Hampstead as the number of businesses hit by thieves and vandals rose to 29 in just three weeks.

Extra police patrols have been requested for West End Lane after the astonishing series of smashed shop windows and break-ins, first reported in last week’s New Journal.

The raids have so far yielded low returns for the thieves and speculation is growing among traders over who is behind the mini-crime spree. Thieves struck in the early hours of Saturday at the Oxfam store, while a dentist’s and a kitchen shop have also been hit.

The charity shop’s manager, who did not want to be named, said: “They stole the cash that they could find upstairs – nothing from the safe. They took the donation box, which has just pennies, really. “It is morally indefensible to do this to a charity shop. It’s not so much the money, it’s the damage to the front door, the glass. It’s also the money we don’t earn the day after because the shop is closed.” The manager said Oxfam may now need to install new security doors after police advice.

The Robert Kane dentist in West End Lane – targeted over the weekend – is also ready to put in new shutters. CCTV recorded a failed attempt by a man trying to smash the front door with a backpack on Sunday. The man is later seen “throwing himself against the door”.

A member of staff said: “Something is going on. What do we have here to steal anyway – toothpaste?”

West Hampstead councillor Lorna Russell said the Town Hall has asked for additional police patrols in the evenings along this stretch of road. West

Hampstead police sergeant Mark Townsend has urged businesses to review their security.

He said: “HD-quality CCTV with night capability and reinforced doors and windows should be a minimum. Shutters are always the best form of defence but I appreciate the cost implications and visual appearance put many businesses off.”

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