‘Calm’ thief robs Poppy Appeal box from shop
A THIEF calmly walked into a newsagent and stole a Poppy Appeal collection box.
The culprit entered Percival’s in the Longfield Centre, Prestwich, and yanked the container from the counter, even though it was chained down.
The incident comes after the M.E.N. Reported earlier this week how a group of three women are being hunted by police after two charity boxes, including one for the Royal British Legion, were taken from Bolton Market.
The Prestwich thief was caught on film leaving the shop and holding the red box. A few seconds later a shop worker emerges to run after him.
Nigel Wood, owner of Percival’s, said: “It was about 12.30pm on Monday. A man came into the shop, which was quite busy, and started to look around. The Poppy Appeal box was chained down but he has pulled on a strap and managed to get it.
“He then calmly walked out. One of my staff went out after him, but I can’t expect my staff to chase them, you don’t know what they could be confronted with.
“I do find it despicable. There must have been about £80 in it. People had been putting in two pound coins and even ten pound notes.
“I don’t think people like him understand what the Appeal is all about. People like my dad fought for this country.”
Mr Wood’s father was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal after serving in the Second World War with the Royal Air Force as a rear gunner on Lancaster Bombers.
“The thief walked out of the shop then started running when my member of staff went after him”, Nigel added.
“He ran alongside the Longfield Suite, and actually dropped the box, then ran off towards the tram station.”
Another shop owner in the centre, Jamie Bomsztyk, has set up a just giving page to try and help replace the funds stolen.
GMP confirmed that the theft was being investigated and asked anyone with information to call 101.
John Keighren, spokesman for the Royal British Legion in the north, said: “Unfortunately we are targeted every year. It is very saddening and distressing as it takes away valuable support for our armed forces.
”But with the appeal launched after the theft from the newsagent it is good to see a positive come out of a such an incident.
“The generosity of the public is remarkable. This week someone handed a bag to a Poppy seller in Kent. Inside was £7,000.”
People can donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stolenfundpoppy.
Thief ran out of the shop after taking Poppy Appeal charity box