The lowest of the low? Thief steals British Legion charity box from shop in Wells

PUBLISHED: 18:48 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:48 16 November 2017

A man appearing to steal the poppy tin from Arthur Howell's Bakery in Wells. Picture: Submitted

A man appearing to steal the poppy tin from Arthur Howell's Bakery in Wells. Picture: Submitted


As the nation prepared to honour the fallen, a thief was robbing remembrance.

Police are investigating CCTV footage which appears to show a man stealing a Poppy Appeal collecting box from a shop.

It was captured by a security camera in Arthur Howell’s Bakery, in Wells.

A man dressed in a black donkey jacket, beret and jeans is seen entering the shop on Staithe Street, near the harbour.

He checks the coast is clear before picking up the box on the counter, putting it under his coat and walking out of the shop.

Arthur Howell, head of the family-owned business, said: “Everyone is trying to collect for the Royal British Legion at this time of year and he just comes in and takes the money. It really is the lowest of the low.

“You’re only talking about a few pounds but he’s taking it away from the servicemen and the families of servicemen who need the money.”

The Royal British Legion’s iconic Poppy Appeal raises money to provide vital support for service personnel past and present.

It has raised millions since it was launched in November 1921 - most of it in small donations from members of the public.

Last year, the legion raised £146m from the appeal which was spent on rehabilitation, welfare, mobility, home care and other needs.

A spokesman for the RBL said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear of the theft of a poppy collecting tin.

“This loss will deprive those in the service and ex-service community and their families of much needed assistance and support from the legion.”

Police are investigating whether the theft, which happened on Monday, November 6, is linked to the attempted theft of a charity box from a nearby cafe the same afternoon.

“There was an incident at Nelson’s Coffee Shop in Wells,” a spokesman said. “A man went into the shop at around 2.45 pm and and attempted to take the Royal British Legion charity box. The man was challenged by a member of staff and put the charity box back.

“An unknown person has stolen the charity box from the bakery. We are looking into whether these incidents are linked.”
Anyone with information about the theft should call PC Dave Allcock, at Fakenham police, on 101.

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