Heartless thieves steal prizes to help Leeds boy fighting cancer

Toby Rye.
Toby Rye.

Heartless thieves have stolen raffle prizes donated to help a four-year-old Leeds boy fighting cancer.

The haul was taken from “devastated” Natalie Hayes’s car while it was parked on her drive in Swarcliffe on Sunday.

She is organising a charity ball in aid of Toby Nye, who is battling the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, and had collected the prizes from local businesses just that same day.

Thieves also made off with, and later dumped, a number of T-shirts with Toby’s photo on, and a collection bucket that displayed information about the appeal to raise funds for further experimental treatment.

The T-shirts were later found dumped near her house, but the raffle prizes have not been recovered with evidence showing they had been ripped open immediately at the scene.

She had been to collect raffle prizes on Sunday morning before helping at the Sunbeams nursery fun day in aid of the poorly youngster.

She said: “The prizes were in the boot of my car. The fun day took up most of my day. Then I went home and sorted out my one-year-old out and forgot to get the prizes out of my car.”

She was woken up at midnight by neighbours knocking on her door to say that some men had broken into her car.

Ms Hayes added: “My boot and my doors were all open. The police were called and came straight out to me.

“When we looked to see what had been taken it was all the raffle prizes, which were gift sets and perfume sets. They’d also taken ten charity T-shirts with Toby’s picture on and a link to his Justgiving page.

“The thieves had dumped the T-shirts nearby and ripped the prizes open and thrown them around. On the top of the T-shirt bag was an empty donation bucket for Toby that was taken out and left in my car. They clearly knew it was for charity.

“I’m devastated. I’m trying so hard to fundraise for Toby and I’m putting in every spare moment to the charity ball and things I’ve organised for him.”

West Yorkshire Police confirmed that at 11.55pm on Sunday they received a report of four to five men in dark clothes stealing items from a car parked in Swarcliffe Approach.

Witnesses or anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to call officers on 101 quoting crime number 13170384425.”


Ms hayes has arranged the charity ball at the Barnbow pub in Crossgates for Saturday September 2, and has organised for West Yorkshire Fire Service to collect the four-year-old in a fire engine and take him to the event.

Toby’s family, who live in Rookwood, are trying to raise £200,000 for him to be treated overseas after NHS chemotherapy did not work.

He became ill at Christmas last year and at first it was thought he had a virus that would clear up within a few days but he became more ill.

On January 6, his fourth birthday, his parents took him to A&E where he was diagnosed with the condition.