Hunt for suited thief who stole poppy tin
A MAN dressed in a smart suit stole a Poppy Appeal collection tin from a pub in Clifton.
Staff at The Hop House in King's Road say the man took the box, which contained about £100 in donations, in full view of CCTV cameras.
Matt Beamish, manager of the pub, says the man was caught on film slipping the collection into his bag last Friday evening.
He hopes the footage will help police track down the thief and see the charity funds returned. The 33-year-old examined the CCTV footage before handing it to the police.
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He told the Post: "It all looked very smooth. The man walked into the pub in a very smart suit.
"He approached the bar, had a quick look around and took the red plastic collection box in full view of everyone.
"He acted very naturally and just got out his mobile phone as though nothing had happened. He was definitely very professional about it.
"We called the police straight away. I'm sure if they manage to track his movements they will see him doing the rounds. I wouldn't be surprised if went on to do it again."
He added: "It's a bit of a disgrace and hopefully the police will find the guy who did it.
"It's not just that we have lost the money but now we know we can't keep charity collections on the bar in case someone swipes them. We will probably have to keep it on the back of the bar now where it won't get half the number of donations."
Police spokesman Martin Dunscombe said an investigation had been launched and that officers were trying to identify the individual captured on the CCTV footage.
He said: "We are looking to speak to anybody who might have any information that could help us in our investigation and help us find out what happened to the property."
Spokeswoman for Avon & Somerset police Claire Stanley added: "The CCTV is being analysed and we are appealing for help from anyone who was in the Hop House from 5pm on November 9."
Roger Duddridge, chairman of the Bristol branch of the Royal British Legion, told The Post that appeal tin thefts were putting off potential collectors.
He said: "I have had a couple of people in bars like this that said 'no' to having a tin this year because they have had it stolen in the past.
"These people have told me that they don't want to be responsible for it. You can't blame them really, they feel responsible for the tin naturally.
"It is always very sad and upsetting to hear about the thefts. Anyone who steals the poppy tins which are helping ex-servicemen – some of whom have lost their legs – has stooped very low.
"All charities have a difficult enough task collecting enough money in the first place."
The theft last Friday was followed by Sunday's remembrance parade being interrupted by a skateboarding protester.
Jose Paulo Da Silveria, 38, was arrested after he disrupted the city centre parade wearing a pink outfit and horned mask. He was later charged with a public order offence.