Would-be thief was hiding in charity shop

A would-be thief who hid in the toilets of a charity shop was chased by the manager of the store as he made his escape.

The man was found by frightened staff to be hiding under the sink in the toilets of Demelza House in Terminus Road.

The discovery was made by volunteers after the shop closed at 4.30pm on May 9.

The shop staff noticed the spare key to the lock-up was missing and they started to investigate.

They phoned the manager Karen Wood and she rushed down to the shop.

It was then the man was discovered.

Karen barred the man from leaving and her mother, Doreen, who volunteers at the shop phoned the police.

Karen said, “He went to push me out of the way. I pushed him back. He had a carrier bag, it split open and fell on the floor.

“He ran out of the shop and I ran after him but I was unable to stop him.”

Mum Doreen said, “Karen was so brave.

“She stood up to him and even chased him down the road as he ran away.

“It was a spur of the moment thing and I guess she didn’t really think about it at the time.

“I was quite shaken up afterwards. It was frightening.”

Karen added, “He didn’t get anything from the shop and we have his stuff which has his fingerprints on it. The good thing is that no-one was hurt and he got away with nothing.”

Claire Jordan, Demelza’s head of retail, said, “We are extremely grateful to Karen for her swift action and heroic response.

“Every penny counts at Demelza and Karen demonstrated her determination to ensure our vital funds remained safely in the shop.”

Demelza provides hospice care for children.

Families in Eastbourne and across East Sussex benefit from its respite, support and end of life care for life limited and life threatened children.

Police were called to the charity shop at the time of the incident but were unable catch the man. He is said to have run off down Elms Avenue.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the incident.

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting 1283 May 9.