'Despicable' thief 'had taken 15 Valium' before stealing Poppy Appeal tin from pub

A shameless thief who brazenly stole charity money by putting a Poppy Appeal tin down his trousers has been jailed.

Hartlepool man Nathan Beddow walked into a quiet pub bar and spotted the charity collection tin and tray of poppies.

Nathan Beddow has been jailed for the theft, which took place earlier this month.

Nathan Beddow has been jailed for the theft, which took place earlier this month.

He was caught on CCTV taking the tin, which contained £70 cash, and placing it down his tracksuit bottoms before wandering around the bar and leaving.

Footage of the heartless crime was put on Facebook by Brian Jenkinson, the shocked landlord of the Dickens pub in Thornton, Cleveleys, Lancashire, and swiftly went viral.

Mr Jenkinson described it as "the meanest of thefts" and it was described as by a magistrate as a " a despicable offence".

Beddow, of Beach Road,Thornton, Cleveleys, admitted the theft when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates today.

Beddow was caught on CCTV carrying out the theft.

Beddow was caught on CCTV carrying out the theft.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, which will run alongside a nine-month sentence imposed after he was recalled on licence for a jail term imposed last year.

This was imposed for the burglary of a disabled pensioner's home in Hartlepool.

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said the Poppy Appeal money was stolen on November 3.

She said:”He went into the pub just before 1pm and was seen loitering around the bar before he clearly stuffs the tin down the front of his pants.”

“A member of the Royal British Legion found the empty tin down a nearby alleyway and informed the landlord Mr Jenkinson, who estimates there was £70 in it, as he had put in £40 cash himself.”

“The pub CCTV shows Beddow coming back into the pub later with a friend and buying a drink.”

The court heard that Beddow was identified as the thief by a member of the public who had seen the Facebook images.

Police arrested Beddow, who told an officer: "All this for some poppy money - all you have got is some CCTV."

“When he was arrested he was under the influence of some substance and was trying to goad the police officers.”

“He was put in a police van and on the way to the station tried to put a cord round his neck after [slipping] his handcuffs but was halted by the officers.”

Beddow, 20, later wrote a letter of apology for what he had done but addressed it to the British Red Cross.

He also tried to go back to the pub to try and repay the money but was kicked out out of the premises.

Steven Townley, mitigating, said that Beddow had received threats from the English Defence League since the offence and was scared.

Mr Townley said:”He has moved to this area because that is where his two-year-old son lives.

"He has returned to taking Valium and cannabis and had taken 15 Valium before committing this offence.

"He has no recollection of doing it but accepts that is him on CCTV.

“When confronted by the CCTV he realised how the abhorrent the public would be. He was horrified.”

“The threats of violence by the EDL may well come back to haunt him. He is not normally someone who targets charity boxes.”

Sentencing Beddow, Janet Lee, chair of the bench, said: "This was a despicable offence. The Valium is no excuse.

"It is a terrible thing you have done and you accept the public perception of what you did.”

She also asked: "Do you know what the Poppy Appeal means?"

Beddow said: "Yes its for army people. My aunt is in the army."

The 20-year-old has been ordered to repay the Royal British Legion charity the £70 and court costs of £185.

Landlord Mr Jenkinson added:”This was the meanest of thefts and he deserves to be publicly shamed.”