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Thieves steal charity collection

PUBLISHED: 21:00 21 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

A TEARFUL trader branded the thieves who stole money for a memorial fund as "cowards."

Farid Youssef spoke out after heartless thugs stole a box containing £90 in memory of tragic teenage pals Dean Bloomfield and Scott Towler.

A TEARFUL trader branded the thieves who stole money for a memorial fund as "cowards."

Farid Youssef spoke out after heartless thugs stole a box containing £90 in memory of tragic teenage pals Dean Bloomfield and Scott Towler.

Thieves targeted the Acropolis Greek Restaurant in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich, for the second time in six months.

They smashed two window panels on the front door and stole hundreds of pounds worth of goods including wine, food, a computer, Greek CDs, two security cameras and a cash register with around £60 cash, smuggling it out through a side door.

But Mr Youssef was more sickened to discover the yobs stole the charity box containing cash for a memorial for the 15-year-olds who were struck by a car in Fore Hamlet on Friday May 30.

Wiping tears from his eyes, Mr Youssef, who took over the restaurant in December, said: "How could people sink so low?

"This is the second time I have had a break in – the first time was at Christmas. It is a big scar left on me psychologically because it keeps happening.

"I am not worried about the stock. But could anyone be so callous as to steal a fund for the two boys? I feel so bad about the fund, especially as it was for these young children. It really hurt me so much."

He had pledged 30 percent of his profits towards the fund for a fortnight in memory of the Stoke High pupils after reading about it in The Star. Customers and staff also added from their own pocket making up about £90 towards the appeal.

Despite his own financial losses Mr Youssef pledged to put £100 from his own pocket to the appeal.

"I have teenagers myself and felt very, very bad about what happened to the young boys," said Mr Youssef also who is also a freelance consultant interpreter working for police, immigration and the courts.

"It could have been more than £90 in the box but regardless of whether it was £1, £90 or £100 it is a cowardice act. Just unbelievable.

"I was here until 3.40 am decorating and my son sent me a text message saying a window was smashed and I came down here and called 999.

"I am opening as usual because I have to honour a party for 40 people. This restaurant is part of the heritage for the town. It is good for tourism and I have taken time in building it up."

Mr Youssef urged others to support the fund via The Evening Star.

Meanwhile Mr Youssef called on police to step up patrols in the area and to place CCTV cameras down the street, or in the restaurant, to deter criminals.

The theft happened between 3.40 am and 10 am yesterday (Monday 16). Anyone with any information should contact Ipswich police on 01473 – 383100, or Crimestoppers free on 0800 555111.

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