DESPICABLE thieves have been branded “low lives” after stealing a Poppy Appeal tin destined to help hero soldiers injured in conflict.
Sian Cameron, who organises Hartlepool’s poppy campaign for the Royal British Legion, has been left disgusted by the callous theft of cash which helps forces heores and their families.
The collection tin was stolen from the counter of Greggs bakers upstairs in the town’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.
Police are now investigating and are appealing for help to catch the shameless thief.
Sian, 31, British Legion poppy sales co-ordinator for Hartlepool, said: “It is just so sad to think people have donated their money to go to such a worthy cause and then some low-life thinks it is acceptable to steal it.
“It shows an absolute lack of respect for what the British Legion stands for.
“The tin was on the counter when they opened in the morning, they have been busy and later someone noticed it had gone.
“The manager reported it to me and I have made a statement to police.”
It is not known how much money was in the tin, one of almost 400 dotted across the town as part of this year’s appeal.
Mark Rycraft, manager of the shopping centre, said the crime was “deplorable”.
He added: “It is terrible that kind people have bought a poppy or even just made a donation and someone has come along and taken that.
“We will do all we can to work with the police in tracking down the individuals who think that is acceptable.
“We are reviewing our CCTV footage to try and find the culprit.”
Last December, prolific criminal Jackie Reed, 31, of Acclom Street, Hartlepool, was given a 12 month community order at Hartlepool Magistrates Court after he admitted stealing two poppy collection boxes from the Mill House Leisure Centre.
The tin was stolen from Greggs sometime between it opened at 8.30am and 11am last Thursday.
Anyone with information about the theft is urged to contact Hartlepool Police on the non-emergency number 101 or CrimeStoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.