'˜Sickening' break-in sees clothing donated by Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall stolen
Items of clothing previously worn by Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall were stolen in a '˜sickening' early-morning car burglary in South Shields.
The jacket and blouse had been auctioned off in aid of a cancer charity after being donated by the singer.
They were taken early on Sunday morning after a car belonging to a member of bar staff at Club del Mar, in South Shields town centre, was broken into while she worked.
Katie Donald, 18, had been set to take them to the Post Office to be sent to their new home on Saturday evening, only for the store to be closed when she got there.
She left them in the boot of her car while she worked at Club del Mar in the early hours of Sunday.
Kerrie Katopodis, the owner of the club, said it was the latest in a spate of burglaries targeting staff members at Club del Mar and nearby nightclub Glitterball.
She said: “Over the last three months, there have been lots of car break-ins where windows have been smashed and things have been taken.
“Between ourselves and Glitterball, there have been four break-ins into staff cars in the space of a few weeks.
“It’s sickening to think that we’re being targeted while we work.”
The jacket and blouse were the latest items donated by Jade, from South Shields, to Empire Pre-Loved Dress Agency, which is also run by Kerrie, and where Katie also works.
The clothes are then sold at the charity’s shop, in Wharton Street, South Shields, or auctioned online, with all proceeds going to the charity Cancer Connections.
Kerrie is now pleading for the items to be handed back.
She added: “The items are easily recognisable, so you couldn’t walk down the street without someone noticing them.
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“We’re just hoping that whoever has got them will hand them back, because they’re for a charity.
“The jacket went at auction for £150 and the blouse was £50, and the successful bidders are massive fans of Little Mix so it means a lot to them.
“I just really hope we can get them back.”
Kerrie says that her car has also been targeted recently, with almost £1,000 in damage caused to her vehicle and a pair of sunglasses worth about £300 taken.
She added that after that incident, she had installed CCTV cameras and floodlights to illuminate the back lane behind the clubs.
However, Katie’s car was parked slightly outside of the lit zone after it became full.
Kerrie added: “It’s happening all the time now so we had to do something.
“They’re targeting all of the cars in the town centre that are in back lanes.
“It wouldn’t be safe for us to have to walk to a lit car park at the times we finish work.
“Nothing is being left on show – they’re just breaking into the cars and taking whatever they can find.”
Kerrie has reported the theft to Northumbria Police.