A Rotarian charity collector voiced concerns about the safety of the community after she was almost mugged on Mere Street in Diss last Friday.
Heather Babb was manning the Diss Rotary Club charity stand near the disused Co-Op store at around 11.30am when an intoxicated man attempted to steal her collection bucket.
The man, thought to be in his mid-30s and smelling “like the inside of a beer bottle” according to eyewitnesses, initially pestered and remonstrated with Mrs Babb’s colleague, asking for the charity’s registration number twice, before making a grab for the bucket, which contained around £20 in donations.
The theft was prevented in the resulting struggle for the bucket, when her finger became entangled on the handle, and the man eventually gave up and walked away up a nearby street.
Mrs Babb, a resident of Croft Lane, said: “I have been with the Rotary for four years and done charity work regularly, and I have never ever seen or heard of anything like this happening. I’ve spoken to others and they couldn’t even imagine it.”
Mrs Babb was shaken and suffered a minor bruise on her little finger, but was otherwise unharmed.
She stated that this incident would not dissuade her from continuing her charity work, but that somebody could come off worse if a similar situation occurred in the future.
“This does not affect me personally. I am not intimidated by these people.
“However, if that man had really wanted to get the bucket off me, he could have. What if on another day it was a poor old lady and someone really wanted to take her handbag?
“It is concerning that this sort of thing is happening in Diss.”
A spokesman for the Diss and District Rotary Club echoed her sentiment, stating: “What is it coming to when people are unable to safely collect in the streets?”
The club was gathering proceeds for ShelterBox, a project partner of Rotary International.
The organisation provides emergency shelter for people in areas of the world affected by natural disaster or human conflict.
Anybody who might have witnessed the incident or who may have useful information should contact Norfolk Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.