Watch as thief snatches charity donation box in Forest Gate shop

PUBLISHED: 17:22 09 September 2020

CCTV captured a distraction theft of a charity donations box in a Forest Gate shop.

CCTV captured a distraction theft of a charity donations box in a Forest Gate shop.


This is the moment an opportunistic thief pockets a charity donation box from a Forest Gate off-license.

CCTV footage from East London Wines, on the corner of St George’s Road and Upton Lane, shows a woman distracting a shop employee behind the counter by asking about items on display.

When he turns away, the suspect slides the charity box towards her slightly before distracting him again, then snatching it and swiftly concealing it in her jacket.

Jatinder Panesar said the family-run business, which has been owned by his dad for almost three decades, collects donations for several charities instore.

“My dad does lots of work for the community, and has several charity boxes in there to collect for various charities and does his own charity work as well,” Mr Panesar said.

“Everyone who comes to the shop contributes, he contributes, the community does.

“It’s bad that someone comes into the shop and nicks money from charity – it’s not a socially acceptable thing to do.”

Mr Panesar’s uncle, who was the victim of the distraction thief, discovered the charity box had been taken a short time later.

“Every time someone says ‘don’t worry about the change’ or whatever, we put it in the charity box – and that’s when we realised one was missing”, Mr Panesar said.

He added that theft from shops was not uncommon in London but he wanted to make people aware that incidents like this happen.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “On Monday, August 31, police received a report of theft and criminal damage following two incidents at a shop in St Georges Road.

“It was reported a collection tin had been stolen by a woman on August 26 and on August 31 the same woman returned (and) caused damage to the shutters of the shop.”

Police enquiries are continuing into the incidents and no arrests have been made.

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