‘Calm’ thief robs Poppy Ap­peal box from shop

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NEAL KEELING neal.keeling@men-news.co.uk @Neal­keel­ingMEN

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

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