Thief steals charity tin for Hornchurch three-year-old girl with rare cancer
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:36 05 April 2018
A "heartless" thief stole a charity tin from a fish and chip shop that was raising money for a three-year-old girl from Hornchurch with a rare form of cancer.
Isla Caton was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in March last year, and the New Regal fish bar in Tadworth Parade had been collecting donations for the last 10 months that would go towards her treatment.
The tin was thought to have contained around £300 and was stolen from the shop at lunchtime on Saturday, March 3.
Fish and chip shop owner Chris Mila, 61, said that a woman came into the shop and asked for a cup of water before going to sit in the corner next to where the charity tin was.
He said that it wasn’t until about an hour after the woman had left the shop that he realised it had gone.
According to Chris she must have stolen the tin because when she came into the shop it was there, and then after she left it was gone - although he didn’t see her take it.
The first thing Chris did after realising the tin was gone was contact Michael Hook - Isla’s dad - just to check that he - or Isla’s mum, Nicola - hadn’t been to collect the tin and hadn’t told him.
But after speaking to them and realising that it had actually been stolen he rang the police to report it.
He said: “I can’t believe that someone could do this, they are absolutely heartless, I was just in shock.
“I feel responsible for what happened, so I’m going to try and get some things together for a raffle to see if I can raise the money that was in the tin.
“It was almost full, we have really generous customers and they were always putting there change in there.
“It wasn’t until another customer was leaning near the shelf where the tin was that I realised it had gone.
“They are just an absolute scumbag, the fact that they would do it is bad enough, and the fact that the money was for Isla makes it even worse.”
Isla had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy since last year, and were hoping to get the all clear in February, but her mum and dad, Nicola Caton and Michael Hook, were instead given the devastating news that scans had shown a spot of the aggressive cancer was still on Isla’s skull.
The couple have been trying to raise £192,000 to pay for their little girl to travel to America to receive the Bivalent vaccine, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
However it may now be another two years before they can go to the US, because Isla will have to go through another bout of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before having the injection.
Michael told the Recorder that Isla’s oncologist said his daughter’s chances of survival have now gone from 65per cent, to 20-25pc.
The oncologist explained to him that most children who suffer a relapse of the cancer have a 5pc chance of survival, but he was hopeful because the spot was so small that Isla’s chances were higher than most.
Isla’s mum, Nicola told the Recorder that she was “disgusted” that anyone could do this.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it, how someone could do this is beyond me.
“It has a big picture of Isla on the tin, and they would have known what they were taking.
“It’s just disgusting.
“It had been there for about 10 months, and I think it must have had about £300 in it.
“I’m just worried that because it is a registered charity tin whoever has stolen it could go around saying that they are raising money for Isla when really they’re just doing it for themselves.”
A Met Police spokeswoman confirmed that they had received a report of the crime, and that the investigation had been closed because there was no CCTV footage and no named or identifiable suspect.