THE shocking theft of a Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal tin in Sunderland has prompted an act of kindness by Scottish football fans more than 150 miles away.
Legion fund-raisers were furious after a thief snatched the collection box from Redz chippy at the Barnes roundabout during the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.
Now, fans of Rangers Football Club in Glasgow have stepped in to replace the stolen cash after reading about the theft on the Echo’s website.
Tom Clark, secretary of the Rangers Supporters’ Erskine Appeal, said: “For someone to steal a Poppy Appeal tin just seemed to be really bad news, and we wanted to do something to help.”
The appeal was set up by fans of the football club to raise money for Erskine Veterans’ Home in Glasgow.
“We initially wanted to raise £1,000 to take veterans along to a football match, but we ended up raising £600,000 – and we’d like to send some money down to Sunderland,” said Tom.
“We’ve made donations to a number of groups, and we’d like to send a cheque for £200 to the Sunderland branch of the Royal British Legion to replace the money that was stolen.”
Mr Clark read about the poppy tin theft after a North-East member of a scooter group he is involved in posted a link to the Echo’s story on Facebook.
Vince Harris, the legion’s branch vice-chairman, said: “It’s a beautiful gesture. That’s just fantastic. We really weren’t expecting anything like that.”
Mr Harris said the kind offer from Rangers fans had come after the majority of Wearsiders had once again shown their generosity and compassion during this year’s Poppy Appeal.
“I want to get the point across that the vast majority of people are great.
“Many thousands of people paid money to the Poppy Appeal this year, and the people of Sunderland are fantastic at poppy time.”
Police are still investigating the theft of the poppy tin from Redz and Mr Harris hopes closed-circuit TV footage released of the incident will lead to the culprit being brought to justice.
The theft happened at about 5pm on Friday, November 7.
Security camera footage shows a man sneaking into the chippy while staff were working in the rear of the premises.
Anyone recognising the man pictured is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191.