A charity shop in Steyning has been buoyed by the support of the community after having proceeds from a raffle stolen from behind the counter.
Last Monday, the Oxfam shop in the High Street had a bag containing £90 raised through the sale of raffle tickets.
Shop manager Tracy Shulver and the rest of the team put a sign on the outside of the shop, which she said was an attempt to shame the perpetrator and highlight what she perceived as a rise in crime in the town.
The sign said: “Thank you for considerately relieving Oxfam of the £90 contributed by our community towards aiding people in crisis.
“Without your help we wouldn’t have known what to do with it. We forgive you because your need is clearly so much greater than theirs.”
The money went missing during a changing of the shift from morning to afternoon and Tracy said the staff had been left devastated knowing it was stolen ‘on their watch’.
It made creating the sign a challenge, she said, as the staff struggled to convey their message without letting their anger show.
“It was very difficult to put something together because we felt quite upset by it,” she said.
“Your initial reaction is one of anger, but you don’t want to put a sign like that in the window.
“We understand that there are desperate people out there, but we feel that stealing from anybody is a bad thing, but stealing from someone else who is in need is particularly bad.
“We aren’t making a judgement. The sign in the window was to show the community that we are constantly experiencing thefts.”
The sign had the desired effect as the community rallied round in support.
Tracy said one man got the bus from Shoreham just to give them £1 and many people had been leaving donations without wanting a raffle ticket in return.
The response, she said, had outweighed the initial sadness around the theft and the store had almost recouped the £90 it had lost.
The money was not earmarked for a specific cause, but would go towards one of Oxfam’s wider projects yet to be decided.