Poppy cash thief caught on CCTV

A thief who broke into a shop in Wigan to steal a Poppy Appeal collecting tin has been branded 'despicable'.

Wednesday, 8th November 2017, 9:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:25 am
The thief caught on camera

But bosses at Gee-Tee’s in Pemberton have managed to capture a clear image of the intruder, who struck in the early hours of Sunday.

And they are hoping Wigan Post readers can provide a name to police so the “disgusting” thief can be be caught.

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The thief caught on camera

Shop manager Linda Wallace said that the alarm was raised around 4.30am when staff discovered that a panel on an exterior door had been kicked in.

The thief is believed to have been inside the Ormskirk Road premises for only a matter of seconds before pocketing the Royal British Legion collecting tin.

In a split-second though, amid the darkness, the lights from a passing car have illuminated the inside of the shop and helped to provide a clear image of his face.

Mrs Wallace, who has worked at the shop for 11 years, said: “It’s a disgusting thing to do - it’s really made me mad.

Linda Wallace, manager at Gee-Tees shop, Pemberton, where a thief broke into the shop to take the Royal British Legion poppy appeal box

“This is something that people have fought for and you can’t believe that someone would just break in and take it.”

Jonathan Twist, the firm’s managing director, has since made a voluntary donation to the British Legion to cover the anticipated loss to local funds.

He has also been left with a £600 repair bill as a result of the break-in but was more concerned about the impact on the Poppy Appeal.

“These are people who only want to steal enough to put something in their veins. It’s just despicable really,” said Mr Twist, who oversees the chain’s stores in Ashton, Westhoughton, Fleetwood and Bamber Bridge.

The thief caught on camera

“But the CCTV is really good and I’ve no doubt in my mind that if anyone already knows this man, they could pick him out from the footage.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman has confirmed that officers were initially called to the shop at around 4.30am.

No-one has so far been arrested in connection with the theft and an investigation is ongoing, she added.

The incident has emerged as a warning regarding a number of suspected thefts of Poppy Appeal tins in the Tyldesley area.

Linda Wallace, manager at Gee-Tees shop, Pemberton, where a thief broke into the shop to take the Royal British Legion poppy appeal box

Bob Watson, who is chairman of the RBL’s Leigh and district branch, is understood to have issued a warning to members and shopkeepers to be on their guard.

An appeal was also issued by police in Lancashire earlier this week after an opportunist thief was caught on CCTV placing a Poppy Appeal tin down his trousers at a pub in Cleveleys.

People with any information about the Pemberton burglary are being asked to call police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting log number 443 of October 5, or the Crimestoppers hotline, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.