Authorities in North Carolina are searching for whoever made a massive, unauthorised withdrawal from a nappy charity.

The Diaper Bank of North Carolina said 13 000 nappies were stolen last weekend. The non-profit gives nappies to the poor.

Founder and executive director Michelle Old said she went on Monday to pick up an order for a homeless shelter. The order was strewn across the floor, and various sizes of nappies were missing.

Old said losing the sizes 4 and 5 nappies was especially difficult because babies could stay in them for up to a year and they were hard to keep in stock.

“We [are already] low on those, but they completely took every diaper,” Old said.

In addition, thieves stole all the nappies from a reserve room that no one outside the organisation knew about.

Old said some people told her the nappies had turned up at local yard sales, and were being sold on the street.

“A couple of people… have contacted us and say they have been approached in the downtown area with people selling our diapers. Our tags are still on them,” she said. One woman told her they were going for $4 (R42) a pack.

The nappy bank was formed a year ago. Old said the goal was to distribute 50 000 nappies in a year, but the organisation had handed out 139 000 in 11 months.

“This is not going to stop us. We are determined to keep… covering bottoms,” Old said. – Sapa-AP