A THIEF has been branded “the scum of the earth” after stealing a Wigan pub’s Poppy Appeal charity box on Remembrance Day.
The stranger posed as a customer at Fifteens at the Fox in Roby Mill and then, when no-one was looking, grabbed the red collection container, stuffed it in a bag which he then tucked into his clothing and left.
Fortunately the incident was caught on in-house CCTV cameras and police today appealed for help in tracking down the pilferer.
A member of staff heard a clinking noise as the customer left and, her suspicions aroused, went to check at the bar.
But by the time the theft had been spotted and staff had run back outside, the man was nowhere to be seen.
Pub owner Tony Callaghan said that the crime was even more despicable because it took place on Armistice Day itself.
He said: “It is the ultimate lack of respect for the fallen. No doubt this scum of the earth was waiting for the appeal box to be as full as possible which is why he struck on Remembrance Day itself.
“The guy came in and had a drink at the bar and chatted to staff. He mentioned something - which was probably a cooked-up story - that he had got off the bus at the wrong stop.
“His face certainly wasn’t familiar to any of the staff and when they realised the theft had taken place there was no sign of a vehicle; but where he went afterwards no-one at the moment knows.
“However, one of the first things the staff did after the box disappeared was to check our CCTV and there he was grabbing the box off the bar. It was even tied by a piece of string to one of the bar pumps but that didn’t stop him.
“This man is the lowest of the low.”
Mr Callaghan, who owns a chain of Fifteens pubs in the area, said he had no idea how much money was in the box at the time it was stolen. But he said that as a goodwill gesture he would be donating £100 to the Royal British Legion so that it wouldn’t be out of pocket.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said the theft took place at around 7pm on Tuesday, November 11 at the pub which is on Roby Mill.
Anyone with information is asked to ring police on 101 quoting incident reference number 1051 of November 13. Alternatively ring Crimestoppers on (0800) 555111.