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Charity collection tins stolen from Upminster and Hornchurch shops

Junk ‘n’ Disorderly were burgled between Sunday night and Monday morning. Credit: Louise Rovai.

A series of burglaries have been carried out in Havering by callous thieves who are stealing charity tins.

Shops and cafes have been broken into in Hornchurch and Upminster, with cash being stolen from tills and charity tins taken as well.

Organisations including Joni’s Army and Mitchell’s Miracles have fallen victim to the thieves.

Both charities were set up in memory of local children who passed away from serious illnesses.

Joni-Mai Stevens passed away at the age of nine in September 2015, after a four-year battle with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Joni’s Army charity tins have been stolen.

Her mum, Holly Stevens, set up the charity to provide ill children with medical equipment and treatment that’s not available on the NHS.

Holly is also the owner of Junk ‘n’ Disorderly in Hornchurch, one of the shops targeted.

“It’s definitely not a one-off occurrence, it’s an ongoing thing,” she told Time 107.5. “To me, this is the first time but we’ve had about seven break-ins on my little parade of shops.

“When you run a small charity, you are the face of your charity, you’re the fundraiser, the accountant. You fill all of those roles and then having to deal with all of this on top is exhausting.”

In the past week, Molly’s Florist, in Hornchurch and Tey Café, in Upminster, have reportedly been broken into and had charity tins stolen as well.

The other charity affected, Mitchell’s Miracles was set up to help offer financial support to the families of children who have been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.

Mitchell Huth passed away from the disease in August 2017, when he was just seven-years-old.

Mitchell Huth passed away, aged seven.

His mother, Kristel Huth, set up the charity in his honour and has also seen multiple tins stolen.

Oh My Cod chip shop in Hornchurch has had two tins taken.

Kristel said: “They didn’t want to tell me the first time because they didn’t want to upset or worry me, because they’re really nice people.

“Then when it happened a second time they had to tell me.”

Kristel is now advising businesses who support the charity to put the tins out of view when they close.

But the spate of burglaries, which are believed to have begun in March, has led to some businesses returning charity collection tins as they’re worried about being broken into as well.

It is currently not clear if the thefts have all been carried out by the same person or if there are multiple suspects.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told Time 107.5 said they are investigating reports of break-ins and are in the process of gathering evidence.

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