Shoplifters targeting a Lewisham charity shop have made it one of the worst hit in the country.

The Cancer Research UK shop, in High Street, Lewisham, has one of the worst rates of shoplifting among the 640 stores nationwide.

More than half of the clothes and goods donated to the store every day are stolen from the racks before they can be sold.

Up to 100 items are being nicked every hour and shop manager Susan Carey is disgusted as this is loss of money which could be used to find a cure for cancer and save lives.

She said: "The people who do this are sick. More of the stuff is being stolen rather than sold. Within an hour of putting clothes out, there are a hundred empty clothes hangers because the items have been stolen. I have chased a couple of shoplifters out and publicly humiliated them but there are just too many."

Miss Carey says the thieves try to sell the stolen goods in nearby pubs.

She said: "The staff in the pubs tell me they come in to try to sell on the wares.

"Our volunteers, many of whom are women over 80 years old, find it hard to confront or see these shoplifters. My team donate their spare time to support cancer research. When they are faced with this, it is too disheartening.

"It would be great if we could be donated a security camera or if a security guard or retired security guard would help us."

Shoplifters have been trying to sell the stolen goods in The Watch House pub, in Lewisham High Street, according to its manager Mark Stevenson.

He said: "They try to come in here but we kick them out straightaway. The people who do it look like street drinkers."

A police spokesman said: "Officers are aware of the problems faced by Cancer Research. Two street wardens have now given them security and crime prevention advice."

If you would like to offer protection to the store, call Miss Carey on 020 8463 0179.