Money stolen from festive fundraisers

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By Cara Sulieman

A CALLOUS thief stole £200 from a charity while they were busy raising money in a Scots shopping centre.

A multiple sclerosis sufferer and three members of staff from MSTC Lothian were busy wrapping shoppers’ Christmas gifts when the burglar struck.

The collection jar – thought to have contained between £150 and £200 – was sat on the table at the event in Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh.

It was the fourth day the volunteers had been wrapping presents for donations outside Debenhams in the busy centre.

“Disgusted”

The theft happened at around 3pm, shortly after centre Director Gordon MacRae had received a £20 donation from one happy customer.

He said: “I am utterly shocked, saddened and ultimately disgusted someone could steal from a charity right under their noses.

“We were extremely busy and people were being very generous.

“For a small charity like us, £200 is a lot of money – money we can’t afford to lose. I feel very sorry for those who donated money in good faith, and our helpers who donated their time, that it won’t go to helping our members.

“I sincerely hope they find the tin but to be perfectly honest don’t hold much hope. I would appeal to anyone who thinks they might have seen something suspicious to get in touch with the police.”

“Callous”

The small charity supports people on the east coast of Edinburgh living with MS and a range of other conditions.

Around 200 people benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the centre which is known to relieve the symptoms associated with the chronic condition and some other conditions.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “This was a callous crime, and we are appealing for any information that can help us identify who is responsible.

“Anyone who was in the area outside Debenhams department store between 2.45pm and 3.15pm, who noticed anyone acting suspiciously there, should contact Lothian and Borders Police on (0131) 311 3131.

“Similarly, anyone who has any other information that can help us locate the stolen collection tin and its contents should also get in touch.”

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