A pensioner has said she is 'gutted' after a box containing money she raised for St Wilfrid's Hospice was stolen just days after Christmas.
Pam Evans, 76, who lives in Mornington Crescent, Felpham, has been putting Christmas lights outside her home for the last ten years with members of the public able to donate £1 to guess how many lights are in Pam's garden. For the last two years, Pam has been collecting the money for the Dreambuilding appeal at St Wilfrids Hospice, where she also volunteers as a florist.
Pam said: "I didn't believe it. I looked all around and it was gone. It's unbelievable really. I put all those lights up myself, I would really like the box back, don't worry about the money, I just want the box back. The money will burn their hands off and it wont do them any good — one day they might have someone in the hospice and the hospice might need the money then.
"I felt gutted that they have taken the money. I'll do anything to raise money, I've done all sorts of things to raise money.
"We don't live in that sort of an area. It's not an area where there has been any crimes at all."
Pam's daughter Caz, 35, from Chichester said: "She was emptying the box on a daily basis but she hadn't emptied it for about two days.
"They will have had to dig it out of the ground. We don't know how much money was in it it's just unfortunate. We know we aren't going to get the money back so just give us our box back.
"I was shocked for it to happen in that area and around where she lives. At this time of year it's a bit much for someone to come and take the box — it's disheartening."
A post on Caz's Facebook page, which has been shared more than 700 times, shows a picture of the box with the message: "Has anyone see this box? Someone has stolen it from my mums front garden in Felpham and stolen the money that was in it for charity! Please share and help us find the suspects who have done this horrible crime."
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "Police received a report of a charity box which had been stolen from outside a house in Bognor Regis. The report was received at 1.05pm on Saturday (December 29). The money was being collected outside a house in Mornington Crescent with a large Christmas light display. Police are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to contact police online quoting serial 533 of 29/12."