Coaches at an Aberdeen children’s football team have hit out after heartless thieves stole the club’s collection box from a city coffee shop.
The box, which was placed in the Union Square branch of Starbucks by coaches at Dyce Boys’ Club, was taken at some point last weekend.
It contained hundreds of pounds of donations for the squad’s trip to Barcelona in the spring.
Dyce BC 2009s coach Garry Mournian said: “The box has been there for a few months and we have been checking it pretty regularly to see how it’s been doing.
“I thought it may have been full and they had taken it into the back to keep it safe for us until we could come in and collect it.
“But I spoke to one of my fellow coaches and he said he didn’t know anything about it.
“I phoned on Monday morning and that’s when we found out it had disappeared.
“We think someone has taken it from the shop.”
He added: “It’s really low that someone would do that.
“The boys’ trip is all self-funded so we are really reliant on fundraising and a bit of sponsorship as well.
“The money being taken is one thing but it’s also the principle of it and the fact someone has gone out of their way to take a charity box.
“The box was chained there so someone would have had to make an effort to take it.
“Starbucks quite often have collection boxes so if it wasn’t us it would have been someone else’s box.
“There are so many good causes and it could have happened to any one of them.
“It is so disappointing that someone would do that.
“The boys work so hard at training and play lots of games against local opposition and this is a really nice thing for them to enjoy and experience something a little bit different.
“It’s a real shame there are people out there who want to try and ruin it when the boys deserve it.”
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The club runs trips abroad around every two years for its players to allow them to experience games against teams from the areas they are visiting.
They will play a number of matches as part of the trip.
Coaches are hoping to raise around £8,000 to cover the costs of the players making the trip to Catalonia.
Garry admitted he thinks it is unlikely the money will be recovered – but revealed the club has been inundated with support.
He said: “Sadly I don’t think we’ve got a good chance of getting the money back.
“There would have been between £200 and £250 in the box so it’s a decent amount of money.
“It all helps in terms of offsetting the costs of the boys’ trip.
“But since we made it public we have been overwhelmed with messages of support.
“People have sent us messages saying how shocked they are that this has happened and we have also had some offers of support from local businesses, which we really appreciate.”
A spokeswoman from Starbucks said the firm was “disappointed” about the theft and “saddened” by the impact it had on the youths.
She added: “We are supporting the local authorities with their ongoing investigation and taking steps to protect our store partners (employees) and safeguard the relationships Starbucks has with local charities.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland confirmed officers were investigating the theft.
She said: “Police were called on Monday December 9 to Union Square in Aberdeen following the theft of a charity box.
“Officers attended and inquiries are continuing into the theft.”
Anyone with information on the incident should contact police on 101.