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Heartless thieves target vape shop and make off with charity raffle prizes

PUBLISHED: 08:54 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:44 14 November 2018

Thieves stole raffle prizes going to a charity fundraiser for a boy with cancer from A Star Vapes in Reede Road. Picture: Claire Ellis

Thieves stole raffle prizes going to a charity fundraiser for a boy with cancer from A Star Vapes in Reede Road. Picture: Claire Ellis

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Thieves have stolen thousands of pounds worth of raffle prizes which were going to a fundraiser for a boy with leukaemia.

Thieves stole prizes which were going towards a fundraiser for Micky Bennett, who has a rare form of Leukaemia. Picture: Lisa BennettThieves stole prizes which were going towards a fundraiser for Micky Bennett, who has a rare form of Leukaemia. Picture: Lisa Bennett

Matt Marsh, who owns A Star Vapes in Reede Road, Dagenham, received a call from Claire Ellis just before 10am on Saturday, after she’d arrived at the shop to sort out the donations - only to find it completely empty.

Thieves had stolen more than £10,000 worth of vaping equipment, including raffle prizes which had been donated to raise money for 11-year-old Micky Bennett, from Dagenham.

Matt, 48, from Rush Green, said: “With my stuff, it happened but it’s replaceable. But for someone like that, who’s not very well and is having such a bad time of things, it’s an outrage.

“It’s just heart-breaking. Someone out there has taken money that could potentially help him in the future. It could be life-saving.”

Claire Ellis arrived to find the shelves in the store completely empty. Picture: Claire EllisClaire Ellis arrived to find the shelves in the store completely empty. Picture: Claire Ellis

Micky was diagnosed with the rare T-Cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and is currently receiving chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

His family believe he needs ‘Car T treatment’, and are raising funds so that Micky can receive treatment abroad.

As part of the fundraiser, A Star Vapes were holding a raffle of vaping goods, and were storing all their prizes until the raffle at the end of November.

When Matt arrived at the shop, he found the grille on the kitchen window had been forced off and the window smashed.

“I received a phone call from Claire in tears,” he said.

“I came down as fast as I could. I looked in the shop, and nothing was there.”

Matt estimates the robbers took £12,000 worth of vaping goods, including starter kits and devices which cost up to £300 each. As part of the fundraiser, other vaping shops had given vouchers and donations.

“Claire does a lot for charity – she won vaper of the year for her charity work,” Matt said.

“Someone’s taken advantage of that.

“The people of Dagenham haven’t got a penny to their name, some of them, but they’re willing to give to someone less fortunate than themselves.”

Matt’s hoping that sharing the story on social media will raise awareness of the stolen goods, and help people look out for the items if they’re sold online.

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