CALLOUS thieves targeted a nursery’s charity collection inspired by their cancer-stricken teacher.
The tots had been collecting old clothes after learning the owner of the Fife nursery, Carol Taggart, was suffering the disease for the second time.
But they were horrified to discover the packed metal bin, which sits outside the Dunfermline building, had been raided just before it was due to be collected.
Staff now fear the clothing will be sold at jumble sales rather than helping good causes.
Carol first discovered the theft after one of the children brought in a new donation.
She said: “At 2am on Thursday I’d put shoes in as we were desperately trying to make sure it was jam packed. In the morning a wee girl came in with a full bag. We hold the kids up and they get to put it in themselves to make them a part of it.
“The wee girl opened it and said ‘Oh they’ve been and emptied it’. I was devastated. I had to say ‘yes, they have been’. I phoned the company to see if they had, but they hadn’t.
“There are two different locks on the container and it’s not been forced in any way. The police reckon it’s an organised thing. They said they put a child into the container to get the stuff and believe it will be on a stall by the weekend.
I’m so upset and the kids are devastated. I can’t believe it you wouldn’t think that people would stoop that low.”
Carol, who has 30 years experience in childcare, is currently undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.
She said: “I was trying to think of something that would help me give something back.
“I decided to do the rag bag so that the kids could be involved as well and learn about recycling.
“We only have eight sets of parents here so we are only a small group. The parents and the kids had worked so hard over the last two weeks to get so many clothes together. The plan was we would split the money between ourselves and [hospice charity] CHAS and [their Kinross hospice] Rachel House.
“We’ve started again but when you only have eight kids we have kind of exhausted their generosity. They are now trying to get relatives to help so they are still bringing in wee dribs and drabs.
“The older ones thought they were going to Rachel House to present a cheque and were sad when we told them they couldn’t go. It would give the kids a bit of a boost to do it again. In this one was clothes, bags, shoes, belts, hats, books – it’s quite a variety that the rag bag take. I appeal to people to help us out and try and build it back up. The container is going to be permanently there now.”
Community Inspector Phil Davidson, of Fife police, said: “Officers are currently investigating this thoughtless theft of charitable clothing. I would encourage anyone with information about this despicable theft to call us on 0845 600 5702 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”