Thousands raised for homeless woman who foiled Oxford burglary

Lottie demanded stolen goods back from thief

Lottie and her dog Marley outside Lush.

Wellwishers have raised more than £6,000 in support of a young homeless woman who foiled a burglary in Oxford last week.

Lottie and her dog Marley had been sleeping rough in the city centre for some time when she was awoken in the early hours by a man breaking into the Lush cosmetic store.

She challenged him, and took back the £1,000-worth of cosmetics and laptop he'd stolen, returning them to the shop the next day.

Grateful staff at Lush have given Lottie a huge hamper of food, and have set up a GoFundMe fundraising page to help Lottie and other homeless people in the city.

"We have known Lottie for years, and have always felt safer with her outside of our shop. Lottie knows us, knows our delivery staff, knows Lush," they say.

"She knew that the man walking out of our shop was not us, and she did the extraordinarily brave thing of challenging him. And taking back what was not his; returning a box worth over a thousand pounds back to us."

The appeal has already raised thousands of pounds for Lottie herself and for homeless charities.

"Funds will go to buying a small bit of land to put a caravan on," says Lottie. "Any extra will, if I get my way, buy more caravans to allow those who are homeless to rent somewhere cheaply, gain a reference for good conduct as a tenant, time to save money for a deposit while living without the fear of where you will sleep at night."

She's also seen a boat that she believes may be suitable.

Oxford has a high level of homelessness thanks to sky-high rents, and most landlords prefer to let to students as they are seen as more reliable payers than those on low wages or on benefits.

Oxford Homeless Pathways recently said its 200 beds were permanently full, with another 40 people sleeping on the streets every night.

However, the council - whose central government grant has fallen by 60% since 2013 - is cutting services.

"Homeless budgets are continually being cut, services destroyed, in Oxford. There is a dwindling support for vulnerable people and we must fight it," the Lush fundraisers say.

"There are people who are getting sick and dying on our streets, as we walk by. It is our responsibility to speak out, volunteer, become active in challenging these governmental cuts, and the stigma against homeless people."

To donate to Lottie's appeal click here.

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