Kids steal Emma charity box

Alex Melling outside the Pound Bakery, Gidlow Lane, Wigan
Alex Melling outside the Pound Bakery, Gidlow Lane, Wigan

A WIGAN cafe owner has told of his disgust after two young boys snatched a charity box for a little girl’s cancer appeal.

While four-year-old Emma Hoolin undergoes potentially life-saving treatment in America to fight an aggressive tumour, the pair of youngsters were caught on CCTV making off with a collection box from the Pound Takeaway, on Gidlow Lane, Springfield, in aid of her £211,000 treatment fund.

The box, which was believed to have had around £100 in it, was stolen from the shop counter on Tuesday evening.

Alex Melling, who runs the cafe with his mum Joan, said: “We just find this disgusting. This is a charity box for a little girl who is fighting cancer.

“Why people do things like this is beyond me.

“We support this charity as much as we can, along with the rest of Wigan, and to have the box stolen is just unbelievable.

“So many of our customers who we have told about this are also shocked, and what makes it more shocking is that they were just children.”

Alex told the Wigan Evening Post how he was working in the kitchen but watching the shop CCTV at the time of the incident.

Once the children had left the premises with the cash, Alex chased them home and reported the theft to the police.

The charity box was found on the roof of a nearby funeral parlour with some money believed to be missing.

Alex added: “These children came in and ordered some food, my mum told them to take a seat and she went into the kitchen to make the sandwiches.

“I was watching on the CCTV and saw them get up and one of them reach over the counter and grab the box.

“At first I thought it was just a can of pop then I saw them run out the door and that’s when I came out of the kitchen and another customer said they had just stolen the box.

“We feel children who commit crimes like this need to be punished by the police otherwise they will just carry on.

“These days, too many youths get a slap on the wrist for crimes they commit when they actually need a real punishment.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating after a charity collection box was stolen from The Pound Takeaway on Gidlow Lane in Wigan.

“At about 5pm on Tuesday, November 15, the box was pinched and the offenders were followed.

“Police were then called.

“Two boys, aged 11 and 12, were arrested on suspicion of theft.

“They have been bailed until December 2 pending further inquiries.

“Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7124.”