Thieves take from charity well

DIPPING IN: The two thieves take cash from the wishing well
DIPPING IN: The two thieves take cash from the wishing well
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THESE heartless thieves were caught on camera fishing money out of a Blackpool charity wishing well.

The men – secretly filmed by a resident – attached chewing gum to long sticks.

They used the sticks to remove money from the well outside the Pleasure Beach.

Charity bosses today slammed the thieves who pocketed cash destined for deprived children in the resort.

The men were eventually scared off from dipping into the well which raises cash to support the work of Blackpool South Rotary Club

Shamefully it is far from being a one-off.

Residents and hoteliers claim thieves often target another Rotary Club wishing well on South Promenade.

Brian Southern, from Blackpool South Rotary, said: “It’s hardly the first time it’s happened, but I’m very glad men have been caught on camera.

“The well clearly states what the money is for – helping local children – so it is shocking people can do this.

“The Pleasure Beach staff are very kind and patrol the area for us.

“The wells are actually big earners, we get more than £1,000 a year, so we rely on the income.”

The Pleasure Beach well is double-covered and padlocked, while the other well has a metal grille covering it.

Mr Southern added: “They have obviously found a way in, but last year, they stole the bell from it in frustration because they couldn’t get any money.”

Secretary Jeff Meadows added: “It’s despicable people can do this and I would urge anybody who sees anything to report it to police.”

The Rotary Club has strong links with local primary schools, and one of its projects to help jobless youths includes raising money to create apprenticeships with building contractors.

At Christmas, its members buy presents and visit children who might not otherwise receive anything.

Mick O’Dea, who lives near the Pleasure Beach and spotted the men when walking along the Promenade, said: “I couldn’t believe how brazen the thieves were.

“It was broad daylight, and no-one seemed to bother, so I decided to film it so something could be done.

“Luckily, while I was filming, Pleasure Beach staff came along and the men were scared away, but they came back again – I couldn’t believe it.”

One South Shore hotelier, who lives opposite the charity’s other well on South Promenade, said she had repeatedly tried to stop two men stealing from the well, but had met with a torrent of racial abuse.

Honey Mehta, owner of the Kensington Hotel, said: “We have seen two men with sticks stealing money on a regular basis for the last two years.

“The first few times we were totally shocked, but when we confronted them, they shouted racial abuse at us, and said they had been donating money. It’s awful for us, because we have no proof to go to the police.

“I would be very glad if more patrols could watch the well.”

Police are now hunting for the thieves.

Sgt Paul McCurrie, from Blackpool Police, said: “We are aware of an incident and patrols will remain vigilant.

“Stealing from charity is a serious offence and I would urge anybody that witnesses any person taking money from the wishing well to contact police as quickly as possible.”

Other charitable activities part-funded by the well include providing an overnight stay in Blackpool for children affected by the Chernobyl disaster last year, and presenting the Grand Theatre with £5,000 to help with its refurbishment programme.