SEVERAL charity boxes have been stolen from Darwen market over the festive period.

Market traders returned from their festive break to find 10 charity boxes on their stalls were gone.

Dave Livesey, who runs Woods Fruit and Veg stall, said he lost four charity boxes, which were for North West Air Ambulance and children’s charities.

Mr Livesey, who has run the stall for eight years, said the traders came in on Friday and discovered the boxes, but none of their stock, had gone.

He said: “It’s very upsetting. The people responsible clearly aimed for the boxes and nothing else.

“It has happened before and we’re finding it hard to keep the boxes packed away every day.

“It’s good money disappearing.”

Other stalls to have lost their boxes including The Meeting Place and The Rushtons' Bacon Stall.

Cllr Roy Davies, who represents the area on Blackburn with Darwen Council, which runs the market, said: “I’m absolutely horrified. This is money that was destined to go to good causes and now it will never reach them.

“What sort of position do you have to be in to steal charity money?"

Cllr Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development at the council said: “Any theft is deplorable but to steal money headed to charities is an absolute low and the people responsible for this should be ashamed.

“It is also awful that Darwen Market, which supports local people and the local economy, has been targeted.

“This has been reported to the police and I sincerely hope that they are able to bring those responsible to justice.”