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Charity bag thief nearly runs down pedestrians

PUBLISHED: 15:50 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 August 2010

A CALLOUS thief making off with donations left for a charity shop nearly ran down two pedestrians as he made his getaway

A CALLOUS thief making off with donations left for a charity shop nearly ran down two pedestrians as he made his getaway.

Charity worker Stephen Barnett, 47, from Bexley, was collecting the bags of clothes and shoes in Swanley last Monday to take back to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shop in Orpington High Street when he was alerted to a man stealing bags in Salisbury Avenue.

He rushed to the scene where he saw a man driving a blue Ford Focus stuffed with bags.

As he tried to block the entrance to the road, the thief drove up on the pavement nearly injuring two pedestrians.

He said: "I followed the car into a dead end road. I tried to block it, but it bumped across the pavement and almost knocked two people over.

"I managed to get half of the registration.

"It is not very nice stealing from a charity. You can't get much lower. People are donating stuff to a good cause and they are stealing them."

This latest incident comes after a spate of thefts of donations from residents' doorsteps in Orpington.

BHF spokesperson June Tumilty said: "There have been a number of reports of bogus collectors operating in this area either asking householders to donate clothing and textiles or taking stock bags which have been left out for collection.

"These collectors are working for commercial gain, with none of the proceeds going to charity.

"All profits raised from goods donated to the British Heart Foundation Shops go directly to fighting heart disease, which remains UK's biggest killer. Household appeals are a vital source of income for our BHF Shops. Stealing bags that have been left out for our charity is akin to robbing people with heart conditions of a better quality of life.

"Householders should report any suspicious activity immediately to the police."

The charity's shops urgently need good quality clothing, handbags, shoes, accessories, DVDs, CDs, books, toys and bric-a-brac.

To find the location of your nearest BHF Shop please call 0844 412 5000 or visit bhf.org.uk/shops.

Now the charity's collection vans display BHF logos and workers carry identification cards which they are instructed to produce if asked by a member of the public.

To check if a legitimate collection is taking place in the area contact your local shop.

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