Mystery as free coats left for homeless in Sheffield disappear overnight - along with the coat rack

A coat rack set up to help homeless people in Sheffield keep warm this winter has vanished from the streets overnight.

Saturday, 14th January 2017, 3:02 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th January 2017, 3:11 pm
The rack and coats were left on Friday night

Sarah Birch and her husband Ashley placed the rack of second hand coats outside the cathedral, behind the tram stop, last night.

They attached signs inviting homeless people to help themselves and others to add their unwanted coats to the collection.

The coat rack was placed behind the tram stop outside Sheffield Cathedral

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Sarah shared photos via Facebook, with the message: "If you're in town and have a spare coat this rail is behind the cathedral tram stop. It's going to be cold and snowy tonight and somebody might be very grateful."

But when the couple returned to the location this morning, they found the coats and the rack, which had been secured with a sandbag, had disappeared with no explanation.

Sarah said the novel approach to helping rough sleepers in the freezing cold had been inspired by the actions of a group of friends in Colchester, Essex.

She told how the couple had given a hoody and coat to a homeless man nearby before leaving the rack with about six coats hanging from it yesterday afternoon.

Sarah Birch remains in the dark about what happened to the coat rack

Her post attracted dozens of comments from people on Facebook, who many praising the idea and saying they planned to donate some gear.

She said a friend went along at about 5pm on Friday and said there were already 12 there.

"It's very disappointing that it's gone because we really wanted to do something to help homeless people and the initial response had been great," she said.

"Quite a few people have been in touch to say they had coats to drop off today so it's such a shame it's no longer there."

The coat rack was placed behind the tram stop outside Sheffield Cathedral

She added that she had no idea why it had been removed, or by whom, since she was not aware of any problems with the coat rack in Essex.

Sarah Birch remains in the dark about what happened to the coat rack