Hundreds of pounds intended for charity have been stolen from a popular Worthing pub on the owner’s birthday.
Tina de Lacey, who runs Bar Next Door in Rowlands Road with her partner Mark Archer, said the theft of two charity boxes on Thursday morning was devastating.
Mark said: “We are really disappointed. The charity boxes stolen were for the Worthing Churches Homeless Projects (WCHP) and St Barnabas House – both absolutely full.
“It has devastated us. Customers are really upset about it.”
They estimate the boxes contained £400, which will take months to raise again.
According to Mark, the whole incident was caught on CCTV, beginning about 8.30am.
He said: “They climbed over the back wall and jimmied open the back door
“They broke in and ran straight in and grabbed the two charity boxes off the bar.”
Both boxes were chained to the bar, so the thief had to yank them free, Mark said.
“We have got it all on camera. I have got a very clear face picture.
“We called the police straight away.”
While the incident has certainly left Mark and Tina distraught, they take comfort that nobody was downstairs in the pub when the break in happened.
Mark said: “If my partner’s daughter had left at a normal time to get to work she would have been confronted head on.”
Bar Next Door is well known for its work for charity, raising funds for local causes through events like quizzes.
Mark added: “Every year we sponsor St Barnabas, and WCHP do regular karaoke nights.
“That’s what’s really got to us the most, we have done all of this for charity.”
Mark and Tina have been left unsure if they can have charity boxes on display again in light of the theft.
Mark said: “We are a bit concerned about having them on display.
“We feel quiet vulnerable that someone has been in just for them.”
Alternatively Tina and Mark are still accepting charity donations at Bar Next Door.
Sussex Police have been approached for comment.