CCTV footage shows burglar steal Saint Francis Hospice and Help for Heroes charity tins from Romford shop
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:40 30 October 2019
A Romford shop owner was shocked to discover a thief had broken into his property and stolen money set aside for two charities.
The Lucky 7 tattoo shop in London Road was broken into around 1am on Friday, October 25.
Business owner George Langley lives above his shop and called the police after he was woken by sounds of a break-in.
He told the Recorder: "We could hear something that sounded like someone banging on the door.
"By the time we heard the fourth bang it was clear that someone was trying to break in.
"I looked out of the front window and all of a sudden a guy came running out of the shop.
"He came running out with a hammer and the charity tins."
He described the man as around 5ft 8in. He was wearing a shirt, Adidas shorts and a baseball cap.
"We've got a beautiful shop front with stained glass windows," said George.
"It has thick plated glass with anti-bandit film on it.
"He had a really large claw hammer and he must have had unbelievable strength to break through that glass."
George soon discovered that all the money from the shop's Saint Francis Hospice and Help for Heroes charity tins had been taken.
He estimates that there may have been around £200 in the charity tins.
Saint Francis Hospice in Broxhill Road, Havering-atte-Bower cares for people affected by life-limiting illnesses, while Help for Heroes supports British servicemen and women who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty.
"We've really stepped up the drive to raise money for the charities this year," said the shop owner.
"I do a discount for police, firefighters and ambulance service people and if they try to tip I always put the money in the charity collections."
George believes the break in may have been part of a number of other burglaries which have targeted charity tins at businesses nearby, however this is the first time the tattoo shop has had a break-in.
He added: "We've apologised to all of our customers who had their money stolen.
"We've had a really good response and we've raised £100 for the charities since the incident."
A police spokeswoman from the East Area Command said a police forensic unit had attended the scene.
She said: "A member of public also called police stating they had found the charity tins discarded in his garden in Mashiters Walk.
"The suspect is described as a white male approximately 30-40years old who was wearing shorts and a baseball cap at the time of the incident.
"If any persons noticed anything suspicious at this time please contact the police on 101 or crime stoppers quoting reference 5417826/19."