UPDATE: Norwich City hero Huckerby steps in to cover losses after two women steal cash from Hillside Animal Sanctuary shop in Sheringham

Former Norwich City hero Darren Huckerby has dug deep to cover a charity's losses after two women joined forces to steal a day's takings from its newly-opened Sheringham shop.

Huckerby, who remains a firm favourite with fans since retiring a few years ago, stepped in after reading about the theft on our websites.

He immediately posted his own message on social networking site Twitter, saying: 'Just read article about Hillside Sanctuary theft. My DH6 Trust will donate �200 to cover the loss. Some people are a joke.'

The incident that made Huckerby angry happened on Saturday at 10am, when the two women went into the sanctuary's shop on High Street in Sheringham.

One of the thieves distracted the 70-year-old female assistant, while the other was rifling through at the back and stealing �140.

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The money would have been used to buy bales of hay for the charity's 2,000 rescued animals at its centres at Frettenham and West Runton.

John Watson, who works at the sanctuary, said the shop had opened in July and was being used to raise extra money to buy food for the animals.

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He said: 'What Darren has said is fantastic. It's really kind of him and we are thrilled.

'When a theft happens, you can lose your faith in human nature. But then when something like this happens, it restores your faith all over again.'

Mr Watson said the charity shop had been opened to 'raise awareness of Hillside and help feed the animals at a time when hay prices are high'.

He added: 'Any theft is wrong, but stealing charity money seems all the worse. When rescuing animals you sometimes encounter some very mean spirited people, but this pair are the lowest.

'The stolen money would have bought around 25 bales of hay at a time when we are very short of grazing for the animals.

'After all the brilliant goodwill and help from our supporters, everyone here is so shocked and disappointed that this has happened.'

Police said the first woman was described as between 16 and 24 years old, between 5ft 5in and 5ft 8in, of slim build with brown hair in a ponytail. She had a very freckled face and was wearing a brown top with yellow flecks.

The second woman was described as between 20 and 39 years old, between 5ft 5in and 5ft 8in, with shoulder length straight hair and protruding teeth.

A second incident is being linked with the theft, where two women distracted a member of staff at a salon in Cromer on the evening of Friday August 26 and a man stole cash from a private area of the premises.

Witnesses, call PC Dawn Collyer on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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