‘SCUM’ burglars who smashed through a Poole restaurant’s window to snatch a charity pot containing more than £200 have been condemned.
The offenders cruelly made off with the large Help for Heroes collection bottle – brimming with money meant for wounded troops – from La Cruz restaurant, in Ashley Cross.
Manager David Alderson says the shocking crime has left him speechless.
Mr Alderson said: “I cannot really describe these thieves to be honest.
“They are scum. Why anyone would want to do something like that is beyond me.”
Customers had stuffed the bottle, which had a Help for Heroes magnet on the front and sat on the venue’s bar, with everything from coins to £20 notes. The culprits struck between 6pm and 8.30pm when the Commercial Road restaurant was closed on Monday.
Mr Alderson, 47, rushed down when the premises’ alarms went off to find a brick had been thrown through the window.
Only the charity fund was missing.
“These people have got no respect and a complete lack of conscious,” Mr Alderson said.
“Our troops are doing wonderful work and come back smashed in body and mind. People liked to give to the fund, even if they didn’t have a lot of money.”
He wants them to do the right thing and return the money. Regulars at La Cruz – including servicemen based at Hamworthy – are “incredulous” and full of “disbelief and anger” at the incident, he added.
Dorset Police are urging witnesses or anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area to get in touch.
PC Amy Burbidge, of Poole police, said: “The restaurant is on a busy road and it is possible that someone, perhaps several people, may have information that will bring those responsible to justice.”
Anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101 or call the free and anonymous Crimestop pers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.
LABOURER William Larcombe works around the corner in Ashley Cross. The 20-year-old, from Christchurch, said: “It’s disgusting to be honest. Everybody had chipped in and made an effort to show their appreciation for all the troops fighting our wars. “To have it stolen is a kick in the teeth really.”
Natalie Tipper, 40, owns Edwards Flower Shop on Commercial Road. She said: “Things are getting worse around here. We’re talking to the police and council about getting more CCTV fitted. There are a lot of pubs in the area and with more opening up it’s just going to get worse. This theft is awful, really terrible. Those people are the lowest of the low really.”
Fellow florist Vicky Lynes, 40, said: “Help for Heroes is a major cause. They need to do the right thing and bring the money back.”
Ann Wolf runs The Queen’s Shilling shop in Ashley Cross and has collected more than £1,300 for Help for Heroes. She said: “I would string these people up. I can’t leave my collection pot on show anymore and have had bars fitted on the windows. “In the world today if people want it they will take it, and don’t think where the money should be going.”
l EVERY penny raised by Help for Heroes is spent on supporting and caring for wounded heroes. Bryn Parry OBE, CEO & Co-Founder of Help for Heroes, said: “The theft of a charity box and the donations that are given generously by the British Public and intended to support the wounded, is unforgivable.” Set up in 2007, it has committed £121million to projects so far. Mr Parry added: “This shameful act undermines the thousands of committed fundraisers across the UK.”