Shop owners in Selsey have said they were ‘humbled’ by the generosity of the community after a theft at their store.
John and Catherine Mears, who run Country Gardens in Selsey High Street, had cash stolen from their till in a distraction theft on Saturday.
But after word got round on social media, John said fellow shopkeepers and friends came in to the store, quietly insisting on handing him cash to make up for the loss.
He said: “It’s hard to put into words how grateful and how nice it is from them.
“How do you thank people for doing that?
“Just a massive, massive thank you for all their love and support.”
The couple said they had run the shop for nearly ten years with no issues but were humbled by the response of businesses, friends and family.
John said a pair of women had walked into the shop at around 2pm and tried to pay with a £50 note before taking it in turns to reach into the till and take notes while the other distracted him.
When confronted, the pair left the shop with John in pursuit while on the phone to the police.
He said: “They had a getaway car in East Street.
“The next day the village community is putting money in my hand to make it better.”
He said he didn’t know how much money he had lost as takings were counted up at the end of each day but he hoped other shopkeepers would be vigilant.
His wife Catherine said the family had not expected the response from the community once news spread of the incident.
She said: “They sent us messages of support, shared Facebook posts, started fundraising pages and have just been so so kind.
“We find it very hard to accept but are humbled and grateful for all the support.”
Police enquiries are ongoing about the two women, who reportedly made off in a black vehicle.
Witnesses are asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 724 of 07/04.