Smash and grab burglaries targeting charity tins 'out of control' at Havering's small businesses
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:30 05 July 2019
GFC Hairdressing/Junk 'N' Disorderly
Smash and grab burglaries at small shops are "out of control" and businesses have had enough.
Since the beginning of the year, a string of burglaries have been carried out throughout Havering where long-standing businesses are left to clear up broken glass but over the past month, shop owners have seen a rapid rise in break-ins.
On Tuesday, where GFC Hairdressing, Butts Green Road, Hornchurch, had its window smashed in at 1.39am and the till was stolen.
Luckily, little money was inside but owner Gisele Falltrick says she is concerned that break-ins are becoming the norm.
"We have been here for almost 40 years and we are devastated that this has happened to our shop.
"I'm concerned but it is happening everywhere nowadays."
Steve Smithson, whose wife owns pet groomers Posh Pets in Collier Row Lane, Collier Row, says the business was broken into twice last month.
He said: "It's happening almost every day now, it's out of control.
"It's getting to the point where you start to think is it worth keeping it open?"
During the burglaries, charity tins are being targeted, leaving organisations feeling frustrated and unsafe.
Shops and charities have been in touch with the Recorder, stating that smash and grab break-ins are on the rise in Havering.
At South Essex Crematorium, Ockendon Road, Upminster, a burglar threw part of a gravestone through its tea room's window to rob a till and charity boxes, at around midnight on Sunday, June 30.
Manager Chris Andrews said: "People's loved ones are buried here and to do this in a place of remembrance is a disgrace.
"You have got to be an evil person to use part of someone's grave just for a bit of money."
Many businesses believe the majority of burglaries are being committed by one person with help from others.
On Monday, June 24, shop Junk 'N' Disorderly, Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch, was broken into and the Joni's Army charity tin, which raises money for children to access specialist medical treatments, was stolen.
Joni Mai's grandmother Trish Walsh said: "It's awful and the worst thing is knowing that Joni's face is probably in a bin somewhere.
"It doesn't feel safe around here anymore."
Founder of Mitchell's Miracles, a Romford children's cancer charity, Kristel O'Connor Huth, says since Christmas, eight of her charity tins have been stolen.
"We need police patrolling the streets, more awareness that this is going on because it seems like nothing is being done", Kristel said.
"It's getting worse and we don't want this to put shops off from having our charity tins.
"This can't carry on."
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell says police are patrolling hot spot areas of crime and the council's three-year investment in more police would help the community.
He said: "My thoughts go out to the local businesses that have suffered break-ins in recent weeks, it takes an absolutely vile individual to steal charity tins from hardworking people.
"Clearly, more work must be done to tackle these criminals, who simply have no respect for the law or our local community. The sad fact remains that petty thieves believe they can get away with this."