NEARLY half a tonne of clothes donated to a Scout hut appeal were stolen on Sunday, leaving youngsters behind target on their fundraising drive for a new headquarters.
The contents of the clothing recycling bank in Ightham Village Hall car park, collected to generate money for the Scouts, disappeared on Sunday.
Around half a ton of clothes were taken, denying the group of at least £250 to go towards the funding of a new Scout building.
The current facility in Oldbury Road – used by Cubs and Scouts from Borough Green, Plaxtol, Ightham, Dunks Green and Shipbourne – is outdated and in dire need of a replacement.
Scout leader James Reid, of Crowhurst Road, Borough Green, arrived at the village hall on Monday morning to find the clothes bin on its side, forced open and the contents, donated by Scouts and members of the community, gone.
"The bin was not in the position it should have been, and looking inside I could see almost all the clothes were gone," he explained.
"The weird thing is, whoever did it had gone through, opened the bags of clothes and picked out what they wanted.
"Then they dumped the tat they didn't want, but they didn't just leave it lying around, they had bagged up again and tidied up after themselves."
The clothes bin is owned by Ightham Scouts and emptied by a contractor, who pay the group £700 per tonne of clothing and then recycle it.
The group needs to raise £300,000 for the new headquarters in Ightham recreation ground, to be used by the 40 Scouts and 11 Cubs in the organisation, £70,000 of which has already collected.
Mr Reid said: "The bin was due to be emptied this week. I nearly had it done last week but it wasn't quite full.
"Now I really wish I had because we have lost a whole bin full of clothing.
"The Scouts and Cubs have contributed to the clothing bin, donating their own stuff, and people in the village have too – they will be so disappointed.
"For someone to steal what we have spent more than a month collecting is extremely frustrating, especially at this time of year when we are trying to raise money.
"We hoped it would get us closer to getting a new headquarters, which the Scouts and Cubs desperately need.
"We just want to provide something for the young people in the area – and this is a huge setback."
The theft has been reported to police and Cubs leader Jackie Blundell added: "The parents of the Cubs and Scouts put clothes in the bin knowing the money raised goes towards the group.
"We have been working really hard to get a new headquarters."