Charity bosses fear collection boxes stolen from shops in Aylesbury could be used in a scam to steal money from unsuspecting people in London.
Two ‘charity tubs’ belonging to Florence Nightingale Hospice went missing from Toys UK in Hale Leys and Budgens in Buckingham Park despite being secured with chains.
Director of income generation Lindsey Fealey attends meetings with other charity chiefs and said she had heard that a charity collecting tub from another local charity had been seen at Euston station.
She said: “That is my fear, it’s not just the theft of the tub and the loss of the contents that local people have donated to the hospice, but people could pretend to be us and collect money.”
There are no street collections planned in the area at present.
Mrs Fealey has asked the public to report directly to the charity if anyone is seen collecting on the street.
Boxes within shops, pubs, clubs and all other premises will remain in situ for donations.
Mrs Fealey said the tub at Toys UK was full when it was stolen.
She said: “We always secure them, and both the stolen tubs were secured with chains.
“Whoever is taking them is going in with the sole intention of removing them.
“The chains look like they have been cut so someone is taking in a tool of some sort.
“It is unbelievable and very sad to think someone would take a tub from any charity, stealing from local people who have donated money for patients and families in this area.
“It must be someone very desperate for money.”
Mrs Fealey said such thefts had happened before.
She said: “I’ve been here seven years and there was a spate when I first joined.
“It does happen from time to time.”
The Florence Nightingale collecting tubs are an important source of income for the charity and raised almost £14,000 last year to help support both in-patient services at the hospice and those provided at home .
Mrs Fealey said: “The tubs raise a substantial amount of money and we are not in a position to withdraw them from shops.”
She said both the stores where the tubs were stolen from have been asked to go through their CCTV in the hope of finding the culprits.
And she asked anyone with any information about the missing tubs to phone her in confidence on 01296 429975.
Rennie Grove Hospice Care has also had a collection box stolen, from a pub in Tring last month.
Hospice spokesperson Kath Pezet said: “Stealing from charities is a very low act.
“Like other charities, every penny we raise is vitally important in funding the services we provide for local people.”
Hertfordshire Police are investigating the Tring crime.
Aylesbury Vale police commander Gez Chiariello said crime figures showed two collection boxes for another charity were also stolen in May.