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A callous thief has been caught on CCTV stealing a charity box – containing hundreds of pounds for children with cancer – from a gift shop owner who was raising money ahead of his London Marathon mission this weekend.
Footage from Daisy Gift Shop, in Straight Bit, Flackwell Heath, shows the woman stealing the charity box while her companion spoke to a shop assistant just a few feet away, in what is believed to have been a premeditated distraction burglary.
Shop owner Bruce Jacob, who lives in the village, was raising the money as part of his London Marathon bid for the Children with Cancer charity, which helps to fund research into the causes, prevention and treatment of childhood cancer, and funds welfare projects to provide better care for children with cancer, and their families.
It is feared that around £300 had been collected in the charity box.
Mr Jacob said: “It is very shocking. To me it is the lowest of the low. The shop assistant was quite shaken.
“You feel violated that someone’s done that right under your nose.”
The 50-year-old added that he chose the charity after a friend of his suffered with the condition last year and is still recovering.
He said: “For me my challenge has to be a real challenge, as the children I raise money for have their own challenges every day.”
Mr Jacob, who runs the shop with his wife, also criticised police for not responding quickly enough or going out to see them after the incident.
He said: “[The thieves] could have been caught, they were out in the village somewhere.
“They didn’t even call us to find out how we were doing.”
However, he did praise the Flackwell Heath community, adding that “very rarely” did anything “nasty” happen there.
He said: “It’s very much a community, Flackwell Heath, and everyone looks out for each other. It’s a community shop – we have been here for 19 years.”
A Thames Valley Police (TVP) spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police has received a complaint and officers are looking into the circumstances.
“The force takes complaints from members of the public very seriously and officers are making attempts to call the shop owners to discuss the next steps of our investigation.
“Officers are currently investigating this incident and would ask anyone with any information to contact police.”
Anyone with information can call 101 quoting 43170107774.
No arrests have yet been made, TVP confirmed.
Mr Jacob has raised more than £3,000 online. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brucejacob.