CALLS have intensified for a greater police presence in East Thurrock after heartless robbers broke into a Corringham shop and stole seven charity tins.
Jokers General Store, located on St John’s Way in the town centre, was broken into last Thursday night.
Thieves are believed to have used a car to break open the shop’s back shutter. They made off with more than £600 from a safe and £75 from two cash tills.
But for the store’s manager, who asked not to be named, the biggest loss was that of the seven charity tins. The shop was raising money for dementia and cancer charities, along with the Air Ambulance and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
“I’m not worried about the doors and the shutter, it’s just the charity tins that have been taken because I just think it’s the lowest of the low to do that,” the manager said.
“My mother is in hospital with dementia and my best friend has cancer too, so we are fully aware of what it’s like to have a loved one suffering and that’s why we do a lot for it.
“To have them stolen like this is just disgusting.”
When full the tins hold between £100-£150. Six were more than half full, with one tin, for the Alzheimer’s Society, full and awaiting collection from the charity.
The manager said they hoped the store’s CCTV would be able to identify the culprits, but added that all local traders were concerned about the current levels of crime in the area.
Local UKIP councillor Roy Jones recently collected more than 2,300 signatures in just two weeks from people in Stanford and Corringham calling on Essex Police to increase the number of permanent police officers in the area to combat a perceived rise in crime and anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Jones said: “Untold damage has been done to that shop and once again it comes down to having no police presence in the area.
“This is not a bank we’re talking about, it’s an independent shop at the heart of the community that collects money for charities.
“Residents and traders in Corringham are sick and tired of crime and anti-social behaviour, but we need a proper police presence to serve as that deterrent.”
He handed in his petition a week before a public meeting at Corringham Village Hall which Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst was due to attend. In the event it was the Deputy Commissioner who attended and Cllr Jones said he was disappointed the issue of police presence was not discussed.
After chasing Essex Police on the issue, Cllr Jones said he finally received a phone call last Wednesday promising a meeting would be held in Corringham addressing the petition on a date in late June.