Heartless thieves nick chippy charity box

A KIND-HEARTED benefactor has launched a major appeal after a charity box was stolen from a tiny village chip shop.

NICKED: Rachel Wood with the empty charity box at Diggle Chippy
NICKED: Rachel Wood with the empty charity box at Diggle Chippy

Mindless thieves stole £20 cash but left the box standing on the counter of the Diggle Chippy on Huddersfield Road.

The box is a focal point for raising funds for the heroes of the snows, Oldham Mountain Rescue Team.

And chip shop owners, Rachel and Stephen Wood, were shocked after the overnight break-in where the thieves also snatched chocolates and soft drinks.

But a former local man, Steven Beckwith, heard of their plight and travelled from his home in Holmfirth – and gifted the surprised owners £20.

Then, linking with the family, he launched an appeal on Facebook asking followers to donate a pound to the charity by taking their money along to the chippy.

Said mother of two, Rachel: “It was a really touching gesture. We were deeply moved by Steven’s generosity.

“The theft was horrible – it’s just a mindless thing to do. Oldham Mountain Rescue team are admired locally. They do a terrific job for the community.”

The Woods, who had had the chippy for six years, began raising money for the mountain rescue by encouraging customers to bring books to the shop to be sold on for £1 each to help OMRT funds.

To date they have raised more than £400 and Rachel added: “Luckily, the box had been emptied before the thieves struck – otherwise they would have taken much more.”

Steven Beckwith, 42, who grew up in Uppermill, knows some of the mountain rescue team.

The father of two and boss of his own online media company in Holmfirth, said: “It is ridiculous to steal such a small amount from a team who do so much and give of their own time as volunteers to help the community.

“I just wanted do something positive and after giving Rachel the £20 I thought its good idea to follow up on Facebook to encourage other people to contribute.”

OMRT leader, Mick Nield said: “The community really comes together at times like this.

“I don’t think these thieves have any concerns for what they do. But it’s heartening local people rally round to support us in this way.”

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