Police are hunting a Scrooge thief who was caught on CCTV breaking into a charity wishing well in a couple’s Christmas garden display.
Jason and Claire Rossborough have spent the last three years decorating the outside of their home with extravagant lighting to raise money for charity.
The property is adorned with hundreds of Christmas lights and festive decorations, making it a popular among local residents and their two children.
But at 12.44am on Tuesday (13/12), a thief broke into the well containing around £40 in change donated by passers-by who enjoy the couple’s annual festive display.
After spending 30 minutes trying to gain entry, the cruel crook swiped the cash, which was due to be donated to local charity Coventry Godiva Guide Dogs.
The footage taken from CCTV at the property in Coventry, West Mids., shows the man using bolt cutters before clearing up the scene to make it look untouched.
Jason, 40, a bus driver, fumed: “I’m pretty gutted to be honest.
“This has never happened before. I don’t know what to do.
“The well has got a massive grill on the top of it. We secured it really well. It took him over 30 minutes to get in. I think it may have been someone local.
“It was a bit personal. We lost my uncle and he was blind. That was why we were raising the money this year. It all goes to charity.”
Claire, 33, a customer assistant at Morrisons, said: “I’m disgusted that this person would have the nerve to do this, who steals from charity?
“Jason’s been doing lights for over 20 years for the local community as well as for our own children.
“We decided to use them for fundraising as we have so many visitors, so we have been raising money for the last three years for charities like the neonatal unit at Coventry Hospital and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.
“Jason is absolutely gutted, he’s been working on this year’s light display since August, he’s really discouraged and has already said that he may not do it next year.
“It takes him so much time to plan and sort out. He spends most of October and November putting it up.
“There’s hundreds, maybe even thousands, of lights as well as inflatables other decorations.
“Everything is handmade by Jason so he takes pride in it and he loves that it gets a great reaction from locals.
“He also puts a jukebox outside so visitors can choose their own music when they come to see it.
“Jason went out to work on the Tuesday morning and noticed the cover over the well’s grill had been cut.
“He came back inside and we looked at the CCTV and saw the man.
“He was originally wearing black jeans, a bright jacket, Nike flip flops and had a belt sticking out the back.
“He kept coming and going, and he returned wearing trainers instead of the flip flops.
“We don’t know who he is but we are appealing for him to do the right thing and come forward.
“It’s such a heartless thing to do, especially right before Christmas.
“Our festive spirit has completely gone.”
Fortunately, money donated by National Express, Morrisons and a local school was safe after being handed directly to Jason.
But the couple said they now feel nervous that someone was hanging around their home while their family – including Ellie, 13, and Alexis, five – were sleeping.
Claire added: “I’ve always felt safe in my own home but the thought of someone on my property whilst my family was sleeping makes me feel very anxious.
“Our youngest daughter saw the CCTV and she’s petrified that everyone who walks past our house is a thief.
“She had completely lost all trust in people, and so have we.”
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “Police were called to reports of cash being stolen from a charity wishing well in Raphael Close, which is believed to have taken place between 12.45am and 1.15am yesterday (Tuesday, December 14).
“Anyone with information can call 101.”
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