Charities feel the pinch...

Shelter says some of its managers spend more time dealing with thefts than selling stock.
Shelter says some of its managers spend more time dealing with thefts than selling stock.

LEVEN’S charity shops are being regularly plundered by callous thieves the Mail can reveal.

The town has a host of stores which raise vital funds for groups, both at home and abroad, including those helping the homeless and also vulnerable children.

But their efforts are being undermined by scores of thieves who are helping themselves to donated goods, handed in by charitable locals.

One store manager revealed that all the stores in the town operate a project similar to the pub-watch scheme, and will advise each other when a known shop-lifter is at work.

Shelter, which has a branch on the town’s Durie Street, was the first to hit out at the thieves this week.

The charity released a national media statement, which claimed that, in some areas of Scotland, branch managers are spending more time dealing with thefts than selling stock.

Regarding Leven, one of the charity’s managers told the Mail that thieves “frequently” target the shop.

However, she added that, due to volunteers being advised to remain vigilant, offences were beginning to be reduced.

The manager, who asked not to be named, said: “Every incident of shoplifting in the Leven shop is reported to the police.

“The most common items stolen are items of jewellery so the shop has now started keeping high-value items out of reach and customers have to ask to see them from behind a glass cabinet.

“Other items which are frequently stolen from the shop are clothes.”

Another manager the Mail spoke with said that thieves were a regular problem for her volunteer staff.

“We have people who we know when they come in that they’ve shoplifted before,” she said,”

“It does, sadly, go on quite a lot here.

“One of the first things that we do is call all the other shops in the street to let them know that so-and-so is out so they can keep an eye open for them.”

A different store manager told the Mail that there was almost a belief that, because the goods had been donated - there was no harm in lifting them for free.

“We had the police follow a young girl in here a while ago,” she said.

“She was in the changing room and when we opened up the door she was standing with a bag full to the brim with stolen clothes.”