Police are hunting two thugs who battered a hero pensioner in the street – because he refused to hand over his Poppy Appeal collection tin.
Grandfather Kieran Sharp, 67, had been out selling poppies last Saturday (4/11) night when he was brutally attacked.
Mr Sharp, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, was punched and kicked to the ground when he refused to hand over the nearly full collection tin.
The retired building services operations manager, from Leicester, said: “There was no way on God’s green earth those scumbags were taking that collection money.
“If soldiers fought and died for us the very least I can do is fight to keep their donations. I took a beating but I’d do it all over again.”
Mr Sharp, whose father served in the Royal Navy in the First World War, has been selling poppies for the Royal British Legion for the past ten years.
He was attacked as he walked along his usual poppy selling route on Acorn Street, near Leicester city centre.
The grandfather-of-three said: “I’d got the bus down to town and everyone had been friendly.
“I’d sold quite a few poppies and the tin was pretty full when I saw a group of about a dozen youths having some sort of dispute.
“I was on the corner of Acorn Street with my tin when one of the group came up to me and just said ‘poppy’.
“I asked him what sort of poppy he wanted, because we have a few different designs but he then made a grab for the tin.
“I told him I wanted him to go away and the next thing I knew he punched me in the side of the face.
“I hit the ground and he ran off. When I staggered to my feet another youth came up to me and tried to take the collection tin.
“There was no way he was getting it. I just tucked the tin in my arms and locked my hands together so he couldn’t get to it.
“I had a bloody nose and my right ear was covered in blood but they didn’t get away with the tin. They eventually ran off laughing and I managed to get home.
“When I got home and told my wife what had happened. She was shocked. We called the police.”
Mr Sharp, who lives with wife Patricia, 63, suffered a bruised face and a chipped tooth in the attack and had his glasses and phone were stolen.
He added: “It’s so distressing to have something like this happen.
“I was just going about my business and trying to do a good deed.
“My wife’s told me never to go out that late at night now. I can’t help feeling a bit shaken but selling poppies is really important.
“I just wanted to get as many donations as I possibly could before Remembrance Sunday.
“I knew town would be busy on Saturday night so just went out and did what I could.
“I would never have dreamt that I’d be targeted by some thugs who thought they could make a quick buck by stealing money intended for former servicemen and their families.”
Leicestershire Police confirmed they were investigating the attack.