The ongoing theft of quality donations from Vinnies’ bins in Ballina have forced the op shop to fit CCTV cameras to capture the thieves red handed and threaten them with punishment.
St Vincent de Paul Society said it is now taking ‘strong action’ against people raiding donation bins in Winton Lane, Ballina adjacent to the Vinnies shop in Martin Street.
‘In recent weeks the problems have got much worse,’ according to Vinnies North Coast Executive Officer Michael Timbrell, who added the after-hours raids on the donation bins are ‘seeing resalable goods being stolen and unwanted items strewn around the laneway or thrown over neighbours’ fences’.
‘This illegal behaviour has a number of negative impacts. Firstly, it’s depriving us of valuable income that we use to fund our support services for disadvantaged people in the community. The shop is staffed by volunteers and all sales are allocated to running our programs.
There is also the negative impact on the shop’s neighbours who are increasingly contacting the Society to complain. Loud noise in the night, including arguing, fighting, swearing and threatening behaviour are among the complaints.
‘We fully understand our neighbours’ concern, even their anger,’ Mr Timbrell said, ‘and frankly we’re angry too.
Our state-of-the-art CCTV in the lane shows people arriving by car, using hooks to pull clothing out of the bins, sorting through it and tossing the unwanted items aside, or worse over the fence.
‘We’re fed up with this behaviour, which is clearly being perpetrated by people who are not part of Ballina’s disadvantaged community. Their images, including their car rego plates, are captured on the infrared CCTV and from now on we will be providing the tapes to Ballina Police who agree that action should be taken.
‘Ballina Shire Council will also be kept in the loop, as the neighbours have complained to their councillors as well, as they have every right to do. St Vincent de Paul Society has a very positive reputation in Ballina, and a strong and expanding commitment to the community’s wellbeing.
‘We cannot tolerate the continuance of this anti-social behaviour, and will do everything possible to see that it ends, with criminal prosecutions if necessary,’ Mr Timbrell said.