Our clothing banks are being raided
We've lost out on £3 million over the last
financial year due to a 25 per cent drop in household
collections and theft from doorstep donations and
clothing banks. This could rise to £6 million this
This money could be put towards life-saving research and
care for heart patients.
We have over 900 clothing banks across the UK
and just one of those full of good stock could be worth up
to £1,000 to us. But we have had at least 30
clothing bank thefts over the past year. Sometimes these
thefts are hard to spot, so the figure could actually be higher.
The rising value of textiles on international markets has been
Combined with the devastating problem of doorstep theft, this year we are set to lose £6 million.
Our Retail Director
said: "We're doing all we
can to highlight the issue to both the police and the public to
make them more vigilant towards these devious acts of
and we would urge people to contact their local shop
if they see any suspicious activity.
"Stealing stock that is intended for our
charity is akin to robbing people with heart conditions of
a better quality of life."
What can you do to help?
- Donate to your local BHF Shop
directly - it’s the best way to ensure your
donations reach us.
- Check it’s a legitimate collection - BHF van
drivers carry ID cards, all BHF vans display BHF logos, and you can
contact your local shop to make sure.
- If you are donating to a clothing bank, ensure you
close the chute properly after putting your bags
- If your local clothing bank is full please tell your local BHF
Shop or call our head office by phoning 0844 412
5000. Bags left outside are vulnerable to theft.
- To find out more information or to locate your nearest BHF shop
please call 0844 412 5000 or explore our
Thieves target our clothing banks in a variety of ways;
- Skimming. The design of most clothing banks
mean that you can open the chute and hook out the contents.
- Breaking and entering. People remove or damage
the banks’ locks by drilling them out or filling them with
- Climbing. Thieves - often children as
they are smaller - climb into the banks to get at the donations.
Some people have had to be cut out after they become stuck
- Cutting. Angle grinders, crowbars and
saws are used to cut open our donation banks. Oxy-acetylene torches
have also been used, posing a danger to the public.
- Driver distraction. Our clothing bank is
opened by a collection driver who is then deliberately distracted
while vital donations are stolen.
- Tipping. The banks are simply tipped
over to make the stock easier to steal.
Watch one of our clothes banks being raided in a Sunday Mirror
The money we receive from donations is very important and
good quality stock helps us to save lives. In
2009/10 our shops contributed more than £22 million to the fight
against heart disease.