STAFF are calling for tighter security measures after a string of charity shops were robbed in Kirkcaldy.
Charity boxes and clothes have been stolen from shops in the town’s High Street.
One of the shops which has been badly hit is the DebRA store – which supports families affected by rare genetic skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).
The shop has been targeted on many occasions and in the most recent case a collection box was stolen.
Michelle Carr, manager of the shop, said: “We are trying to struggle on – particularly in this difficult financial climate – but this is killing us.
“I have been working here for about eight or nine years and the thefts have been continuous over that time but it has got worse in recent years.
“I have spoken to staff in a few charity shops in the High Street and they are all facing the same problem.
“The thieves are taking anything they can sell and I am getting totally sick of it.
“Our charity box was wired up at the counter and they cut the wire.
“It’s unbelievable – I’m facing an ongoing battle.”
Theresa Lyon, manager of The British Heart Foundation shop, bas been faced with similar problems.
She said: “They have come in here with old trainers on, taken new ones and then left the old ones on the shelf.
“We are hit all the time – they take clothes, shoes and jewellery.
“I have been here for 13 years but I would say it has got worse over the last six years.”
Pip Suggett, manager at the Bethany Shop, said that it is difficult to prove that items have been stolen: “They go into the changing rooms and put on several layers of clothes.
“We can’t accost those who steal because it is very difficult to prove – especially if they remove the tickets – that is why we can’t phone the police.”
Helen Brown, manager at the Cancer Research UK shop, added: “Those who take the goods think they are getting them for free but they are taking money away from worthy causes.”
Kirkcaldy Chief Inspector Gary Crawford said: “We recognise the instances of dishonesty in the High Street area of Kirkcaldy including charity shops.
“In order to combat retail crime, the safer town centre initiative has commenced specifically targeting crime in the retail sector.
“I have authorised an increase in the number of dedicated officers to tackle the many issues the festive period.
“I am committed to ensuring that people who come to Kirkcaldy to shop, do so in an atmosphere of safety and security.
“I would ask shoppers to be vigilant particularly in crowded areas.”
REPORT: Amanda MacMillan