A pub boss has branded thieves who stole charity cash donated for a young cancer sufferer as “disgusting”.
Karen Williams, manager of Annie McCarthy's, has spoken of her shock after a break-in at the bar while she slept upstairs.
A charity bucket collecting for three-year-old Kian Musgrove, who is battling neuroblastoma for the second time, was stolen, along collections for the Great North Air Ambulance and NSPCC.
Karen's Toyota Aygo car was also stolen during the raid on the pub, in Albemarle Street, South Shields, along with a haul of spirits and bar takings.
Kian's family is faced with raising £500,000 to take him to America for life-saving treatment.
The three-year-old has already had the pioneering treatment in the States, but after relapsing, his family is once again raising vital funds to send him to New York.
Bar boss Karen, a mum-of-two, discovered the pub had been raided when she woke on Friday morning.
She said: "To take the charity buckets is disgusting. I just don’t know how someone could steal something like that, I don't know what goes through their head.
"I was upstairs on bed when it happened. That's the scariest thing.
"I feel unsafe in the pub by myself now and I'm stressed by it.
"I came down to clean up and I was just in shock when I saw what had happened.
"The fire exit door had been broken open. I saw things had been taken from the bar but when I walked through the fire door I saw that my car had been stolen as well."
Also stolen were a Bush tablet and an Huwaie smartphone.
Karen added: "I don't even know how to describe it, I was just in shock. Because my phone had been stolen I couldn't contact the police. I had to stop a man outside the pub and ask him to phone the police for me.
"To take the charity buckets is disgusting. Everything else can be replaced, except for the pictures and videos on my phone that I'll never get back, but those chairites need that money."
Kian's mother Kat, from Newcastle, says she has been overwhelmed by the way people of the region have rallied round to help her son – but is disgusted by the theft of the fundraising bucket.
So far, they've pulled in just over £270,000, but it's not enough to save Kian's life.
Kat has no way of knowing how much money was in the bucket at Annie McCarthy's, but knows that however much it was, it would have brought them a step closer to getting Kian the help he desperately needs.
She said: "I can’t believe this has happened again. It happened at a different pub in South Shields the first time we were raising money for Kian.
"It sort of shocks you because you see all this kindness and all these people helping and showing their support, then someone does this.
"The first time that he was ill was bad enough, but now that he's relapsed it’s even worse and it's disgusting that someone could steal a bucket collecting money to save his life.
“The lady who put the bucket in the bar had stuck his picture and his story on it, so whoever took it knew that they were taking the money away from a sick child and it’s just disgusting.
"Stealing any charity bucket is not normal behaviour, it's unacceptable and it's disgusting, but to see Kian's picture there and take that money that is going to help save his life is just beyond belief. Why would somebody do that?"
Annie McCarthy's boss Karen says she had handed over CCTV from the pub to police in a bid to catch whoever was responsible for the theft.
To make a donation towards Kian's treatment, go to www.kapipal.com/caringforkian