Hammer used to break into cash box at charity fundraiser

Lights display in Valentines Meadow, Cottam
Lights display in Valentines Meadow, Cottam
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CCTV has been installed at a fundraising Christmas lights display after thieves used a hammer to smash into the charity collection.

Every year thousands of pounds is raised for local causes when a family deck their house and garden in Valentine’s Meadow, Cottam, with lights and festive figures.

But on Monday night, two hooded teenagers on a moped were seen loitering around the padlocked wishing well.

They then returned for a second time and started hammering at the padlocks.

The father of the family, who asked not to be named, said: “We could hear bang, bang, bang, and stupid me, I got my shoes on to go outside and see what was happenening. By the time I got there they’d managed to snap the lock off and got away with the bucket, but they dropped it in the road.

“Luckily I’d already emptied it that night, so there was nothing to steal. But it didn’t stop them coming back again to see if they’d dropped anything. While my wife was ringing 999 they even gave her a wave.”

Although nobody has been caught over the incident, police have upped patrols in the area and security company Vuetek Systems Ltd, based in Fylde Road, has donated security cameras free of charge until January.

The dad said: “There was already a concrete block, a cast iron bar and padlocks, but now we’ve got extra padlocks and the cameras. You wouldn’t have thought you’d have to do this for to a charity collection.

“I feel sorry for the people who’ve done it, stooping so low. But it won’t put us off, we’ll still be continuing with the lights.”

The family have also set up an online donation page for people who do not want to use the wishing well.

Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting crime reference SA1616031.