A homeless couple hoping to get in the festive spirit have been left distraught after thieves stole their only possession – a Christmas tree.
Justin, 41, and Tia, 30 who live in the doorway of an old BHS building had found an artificial tree in a skip and put it up next to where they sleep.
Kind passers-by in Exeter, Devon, then donated baubles and decorations to the pair and had even helped to line their shelter with tinsel.
But Justin said their Christmas joy was flattened when they woke up to discover someone had pinched the tree along with all the donated ornaments.
All that remains is a branch and a string of silver tinsel.
Justin said: “I was just really upset and disappointed that someone would do that.
“We were just trying to have a bit of Christmas cheer.
“We don’t have a proper home at the moment but I found the tree in a skip behind a charity shop and thought it would be nice to put it up.”
Justin has been on the streets for two and a half years now after losing his flat.
He said: “I lost it a couple of years ago and have been rough sleeping on and off since then.”
He said one of the biggest problems they faced by being homeless was constantly being at risk of thieves.
He added: “People steal stuff from you all the time, That’s why we try to stick together.
“You wake up and your belongings will be gone.
“We’ve had a tent nicked, sleeping bags, and all sorts.
“And now the tree too.”
Tia, who is also from Exeter, has been out on the streets for the last 18 months.
She said: “I was sofa-surfing for quite a while after I lost my flat and now I’m just out here.
“Things go missing all the time out here, it’s stressful and makes us angry.”
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