This is the moment two shameless thieves brazenly steal charity cash from a WISHING FOUNTAIN destined to help dying children.
The lowlife pair were caught on camera by a stunned passer-by Sharon Bevis, 33, as they hit the town centre monument in broad daylight.
A series of images shows both men leaning over the edge of the fountain and fishing in the water for coins.
One man, wearing a camouflage jacket, uses a long stick to reach for cash, while the other lays on his front and dips his whole arm in.
Witnesses said the two men simply continued to trawl the one-foot deep water despite efforts from members of the public to intervene.
Mum-of-six Sharon snapped the pair on her mobile phone after she spotted the scene unfolding in Redditch, Worcs., on Monday afternoon.
She said: “They were taking the money out for bus fare and beer money and they were just not bothered at all when I told them they were bang out of order for doing it.
“They were drunk and didn’t seem to care that there were lots of people around and even children watching.
“I told them what they were doing was appalling and that the money goes to children’s charities but they didn’t listen.
“The strange thing is if you look at the pictures you can see their clothes were clean and new so they didn’t look like they needed the money.”
The fountain in the centre of the town is cleaned once a year and all money collected is donated to Acorns Children’s Hospice charity.
Members of Redditch Borough Council, which owns the fountain, yesterday criticised the men’s actions.
Councillor Debbie Taylor said: “The reaction since these photos appeared has ranged from sheer bafflement to sympathy and anger, and we don’t want to get too carried away, but it’s clearly not on.
“For years now the bits of loose change that get swept up in the town, including when the fountain gets cleared out, have been gathered up, cleaned, and donated to charity.”
Carole Crowe, fundraising manager for Acorns, said: “It’s very disappointing to hear of this.
“We rely on fundraising and voluntary donations for the majority of our income so donations such as this are vital in ensuring we are able to continue to provide care and support to local children and their families.”
West Mercia Police said yesterday (Friday) the force was aware of the incident, which occurred at around 4pm and were currently investigating.
A spokeswoman said: “We are looking into it, the photos came to light after a local resident submitted them.
“Investigations are underway and we are trying to identify the two men pictured.”