Volunteers at North London Hospice charity shop in North Finchley demoralised by break-in

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

'Angry' staff at a charity shop for the North London Hospice say the cost of repairing damage from a break-in is far higher than the value of what was stolen.

Thieves smashed a glass panel on the front door of the North Finchley branch, in High Road, before climbing in and stealing a till float and a collection box.

The individuals responsible got away with little more than £80 in cash, as well as some fancy dress outfits laid out in the shop, but cost the charity about £600 in repairs and lost earnings.

Store manager for the past seven years Shireen Nasseri arrived for work on Thursday morning to find shattered glass covering the entrance to the shop.

She said: “As soon as I saw it I knew what had happened. I just felt so sad that people think it is OK to rob a charity shop but I thought, if people can steal toys from Great Ormond Street (referring to a theft at the hospital earlier this week), then they can do anything.”

The North London Hospice provides care and support to people with potentially life-limiting illnesses at its centres in Woodside Avenue, North Finchley, and Winchmore Hill, Enfield.

The break-in, which took place between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, came 24 hours after a similar incident at the charity’s shop in Wood Green.

Some 30 volunteers regularly help at the shop and Ms Nasseri, one of two paid managers, explained that the thefts have an impact on staff.

She said: “It does affect morale – it makes people angry. These people that do this are just low lifes.”

“These shops are hugely important to raise money for the work at the hospices and it has cost us more than just the stolen cash.”

A break-in at the shop more than two years ago led to tightened security but Ms Nasseri says individuals still target the shop regularly.

She said: “We have shoplifters in almost every day - they think we’re just an easy target. It just makes me quite sad.”

Police are looking at CCTV in the area but no arrests have been made.

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