Police today released this shocking pictures of a sick thief stealing a poppy collection box.
The callous hooded youth can be seen brazenly strolling up to a hardware shop counter which has a Royal British Legion tin chained to it.
He quickly cuts the chain and stashes the collection box into the front of his hooded top – before coolly walking out in full view of the camera.
It is believed the same crook was behind two other poppy tin thefts within minutes of the incident at Pearce’s Hardware Store in Horfield, Bristol.
Owner Michel Khan, 45, slammed the crime as ”disgusting”.
He said: ”Last year seven other shops were targeted on this street. People were putting fivers in it so I would think the thief walked off with more than £100.
”There are a lot of old people in this area and they donate lots to the cause.
”I am horrifed. The people who are supposed to have this money are the people that have given this young man the freedom to walk around.
”The police didn’t turn up for two days. I phoned them straight after the theft. It’s disgraceful.”
Shortly before the incident on Tuesday a Royal British Legion box was stolen from a post office near the store.
And minutes later a third box was taken from another post office branch nearby.
It is unclear whether the same thief targeted all three shops, as he was only caught on CCTV taking the box from Pearce’s Hardware Store.
Len Netcott, chairman of the Clifton and Hotwells branch of the Royal British Legion said: ”The guy walked right into the camera with his face on full view.
”I would like anyone who knows this chap to contact the police and see that the man gets his just desserts because he is stealing from people less fortunate than himself.”
He estimated the amount stolen from Royal British Legion collection boxes at #2 MILLION every year.
A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset police said: ”I can assure you that investigations into three separate thefts in the Horfield and Bishopston area are very much ongoing.
”We take any reports of theft very seriously, however theft of charity tins is particularly a despicable crime.
”These kinds of thefts are particularly cruel because the money stolen from the tins would otherwise be donated to charity and therefore affects those that need the money most.
”I would urge anyone who knows who may be responsible for these thefts to contact us.”