In the Media

Couple caught on CCTV stealing Poppy Appeal tin

PUBLISHED November 13, 2012

This is the moment when a woman helps herself to a poppy collection box on Remembrance Sunday.

Her male accomplice distracted shop staff as she lifted the Poppy Appeal tin and placed it into her bag.

It is believed to have contained between £150 and £200.

The theft, just hours after Britain fell silent to remember its fallen heroes, was at Costcutter in Main Road, Hockley, Essex.

Police believe the couple may have been behind two other thefts in nearby Rochford, Essex, within an hour - both carried out in the same way.

They're hoping someone can identify the culprits from the CCTV pictures.

Peter Woods, owner of Costcutter, said: "They were asking for different wine and spirits. They were pretty brazen about it.

"We did go round the local shops afterwards and warn them about it.

"It is an absolute disgrace. It is more the principal, especially on Remembrance Day. It really is disgusting."

Len James, 70, poppy organiser for Hockley Royal British Legion for the past eight years, said it wouldn't stop him collecting.

He added: "You don't let them beat you, you just do it again next year. You can't let the mindless one or two ruin the whole lot.

"It has spoilt a good weekend, we did the remembrance event at Southend United and there were about 200 people in Hockley on Sunday."

Veteran Alfred Fowler, 89, from Southend, said: "It is despicable. I can't understand the mentality of these people. They just want easy money - usually to buy drugs.

"It is similar to people that go into cemeteries and desecrate tombstones."

Police are linking this theft to another at 2pm in Spar at West Street, Rochford, and a third at Sanders food and wine shop in Ashingdon Road, Rochford at 2.30pm.

Elaine Massey, manager of Spar, said the cashier was distracted while the woman took the collection. She added: "I am absolutely fuming.

How low can you go?" The suspects are both Asian, in their late twenties or early thirties and were dressed in black. Anyone with information should call the Rayleigh police on 101.