WATCH: Heartless sneak thief steals collection box from Hartlepool charity

THIS is the moment despicable thief David Hindmarch stole a collection tin from a charity that helps hundreds of town families in their hour of need.

The 36-year-old had gone into Hartlepool Families First, which is based at Cafe One77, in York Road, Hartlepool, to receive a food parcel from a food bank group.

Hindmarch waited in line for his food but before leaving, sidled up to the counter and slyly put the charity tin inside his coat.

He checked nobody was looking and then left with the container that charity bosses think had about £70 inside.

What the brazen crook did not know though, was that he was being recorded on CCTV from inside Cafe One77.

And it was this tape which snared him and saw him hauled before Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty to the theft.

Hindmarch was given an eight-week jail term which was suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation, £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Today Paul Thompson, manager of Hartlepool Families First which helps residents living in disadvantaged areas, including children and young people with disabilities, said: “There was a strong sense of anger within the team. We rely on donations from members of the public and for someone to take some of those donations is just awful.

“This particular can had mainly been filled by elderly people who come in for a free lunch group that we’ve been running. They struggle financially but always want to make a contribution and to say thank you.

“It’s just a real kick in the teeth and the lowest form of theft.”

Paul said Hindmarch went into Cafe One77 around 9.30am, on Saturday, January 31, when a group called Paradox were in handing out the food parcels.

He said: “it wasn’t until Tuesday that I came and noticed that the charity tin was missing.

“We looked back through the CCTV and caught this nice fellow helping himself to the charity collection tin.

“We phoned the police on Tuesday, and an officer looked at the CCTV and identified him. He was arrested on Wednesday morning and went before the courts.”

Paul added: “We’re going to have to anchor the tin to the counter now, so it will have to be unlocked before it can be removed.

“It’s sad when you have to do that because chains kind of send out a bad feeling – but that’s what we’re going to have to do now.”