Shops have been warned to be on their guard after thieves targeted charity boxes on a counter.
One man has been arrested and charged in relation to a theft of a tin from Elcho’s, in Murray Street, Hartlepool, after the takeaway business was hit.
A tin collecting cash for Empowering Communities, a charity which supports third world countries to tackle poverty, oppression and improve literacy for adults and orphans, was snatched from the counter.
It comes as the town’s policing team issued an appeal for people to ensure others are not easily taken.
Owner Zaheer Ahmed was inside the fast food shop with a number of his workers when the incident happened.
He said: “What can I say, I was very annoyed somebody did this, it’s a very sad crime.
If you donate by dropping your change into a charity box and notice that it’s not secure, mention it to the proprietor and lets make theft of this kind a thing of the past.Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team
“We called the police as soon as we could.”
Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team issued its appeal for shops and others who collect on behalf of charities to ensure the containers are pinned down and has also asked customers to alert them to do so, should they spot one which could be a target.
A spokesman for the officers said: “With Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday this week it is fair to say that many people will be supporting the Royal British Legion by making a donation and wearing a poppy.
“There have been reports of charity boxes being stolen in the national media recently and with recent thefts within the Cleveland Police area we at Hartlepool Neighbourhood Police Team currently have someone ‘helping us with our inquiries’ in regards to a theft in the town on Wednesday.
“We would like to take this opportunity to encourage people who run shops and businesses to secure their charity boxes as best they can; making tins easy to see but hard to steal.
“If you donate by dropping your change into a charity box and notice that it’s not secure, mention it to the proprietor and let’s make theft of this kind a thing of the past.”
A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “We had a report of a theft from a chip shop in Murray Street, Hartlepool.
“We received the report at 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 8 at 7.30pm.
“A man has been arrested and charged.”
Anyone with information about the incident or any others is asked to call Cleveland Police on 101 or it can be reported anonymously via @Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.