A shop owner in Dereham was left shocked after a charity donation jar was stolen.

Helen Winterbone, owner of Hawthorn and Bee, said that someone had taken the donation pot for the food waste charity Re:Think.

Miss Winterbone has been supporting the charity for a couple of years, having its surplus food placed on a table in her shop and with a jar in place for anyone to make donations if they can afford it.

She said that less than £20 was taken, as she regularly empties the jar and added: “I was meant to take the money out yesterday, but a customer told me the jar was not there.

“We were both shocked, the pair of us. We both looked all over and could not believe it was not there.”

Re:Think makes up food parcels for families and when they have surplus food Miss Winterbone puts it on a table for people to help themselves, with the donation money going back to the charity.

The business owner said she does not have a camera pointing at the table as she “doesn’t want people to feel they cannot take something because we are watching them".

Since the shop, which sells eco-friendly cleaning products, toiletries, food and more, posted the news on Facebook, the community has rallied around to support the business which opened on Dereham High Street in August 2022.

Dereham Times: Helen Winterbone, owner of Hawthorn & BeeHelen Winterbone, owner of Hawthorn & Bee (Image: Helen Winterbone)

Miss Winterbone reported the stolen jar to the police, but she also believes that customers will come in and put some extra in the jar to make back the money, and she has vowed to “make sure the charity is not out of pocket because of it".

The table will remain in place with a new jar but it is to be tied down.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Police said: "Police were called to reports of shoplifting at a property in the High street in Dereham. The incident happened when a charity box was stolen from the shop at 2.50pm, on January 16. Enquiries are ongoing."