STROUD residents are being asked to stay alert of thieves stealing donations from the RSPCA’s charity shop.

RSPCA South Cotswolds, one of the oldest animal welfare charities in the county, is suffering a plague of thefts from their Stroud shop.

Donations left by caring animal lovers are regularly being stolen when they are left outside the shop and the crafty thieves have even started raiding the bins in an effort to maximise their profit.

Manager, Andy Taylor said: “It is just devastating that people would do this to us.

“Almost every morning now we come in and there is litter thrown all over the front of the shop where they have been rummaging in the bins and through the goods that people leave us when the shop is closed.

“It is taking longer and longer to clean it up and it is an awful thing for our neighbours to put up with too.

“The thieves also run the risk of seriously hurting themselves as the bins often contain broken glass and other sharp objects.”

Karen Egan who manages the charity’s four retail shops in Stroud, Cirencester, Nailsworth and Wotton is also incensed by the sheer nerve of the thieves, she said: “It is awful to think that people are giving us much needed donations – the money which helps us to continue to provide a life-line for hundreds of animals each year only for them to be stolen from our doorstep and appear at car boot sales locally.

“We have no idea of what the value of the thefts is but we fear it could run into hundreds of pounds.”

The Charity which has been working with local police and other agencies to try and cut down on the thefts is asking local people to be vigilant and if they see anything to report it to the police immediately.

If people are thinking of making donations, ensure that they do so when the shop is open. The charity shop welcomes donations between Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5.00pm.