ST MARY'S Hospice has urged people to stop swapping price tickets to buy items at its Barrow charity shop for a cheaper price, saying: "We will not stand for it any longer."

Bosses at the charity, which fundraises for vital services at its hospice in Ulverston, have warned that people are attempting to buy clothes from its Re:Love shop for a cheaper price to sell them online - something they say is theft.

Placing signs in the shop in Portland Walk, staff said the underhand tactic had been going on for 'many months' and is getting worse.

The notices to shoppers said: "We are finding more and more price tickets being removed in order to purchase an item cheaper ... this has been happening for many months and is getting worse, we will not stand for it any longer."

Staff have warned that items brought to the counter without price labels will not be sold.

A St Mary's Hospice spokesperson said with eight out ten of its patients having their care paid for by the community it was vital that its shops 'run as profitably as possible'.

The charity also has a duty when someone donates an item for resale 'that we do what we can to get a fair price for it'.

"Sadly it is not uncommon in retail to have instances where people try and swap price tickets or remove them altogether, hoping they can get the item for a cheaper price at the checkout," the spokesperson added.

"Doing that is theft, and when it happens, not only do the perpetrators deprive us of the chance to make more money to pay for the care of our patients, but they also rob someone else of the chance to buy the item at what is already a reasonable price. 

"And to be clear, this isn't about people who are in desperate need of clothing or furniture and can't afford it – we've often worked with other charities and agencies to help people in this position with heavily discounted or even free items.

"This is about a small number of people trying to take items for lower than we've valued them at, and reselling them on sites like Ebay for much higher prices, which is very frustrating for our staff and volunteers."