Poppy collection thief caught on camera + CCTV footage

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THIS is the moment a burglar snatched cash from a counter top destined to help war veterans.

Police have released CCTV of the theft, which happened when the burglar broke into the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Museum, and the British Legion Poppy Appeal collection tin was taken from its cafe.

The footage shows the offender making great efforts to pull the tin from the bench and then run back to the window he smashed to get in to flee the building.

Pc Leanne Howe, of Durham City’s priority crime team, who is investigating the break-in, said: “We are very keen to trace the offender as this took place just before Remembrance Sunday, making it an especially heartless crime.”

The incident happened at around 11.15pm on Thursday, November 8.

The burglar’s actions have been slammed by the museum’s bosses and the Royal British Legion, which spends £1.7million a week on the welfare of those in the services, veterans and their families.

The Durham and Framwellgate Moor branch of the charity has said the fact that the theft of Poppy Appeal tins are rare shows the respect people have for the cause.

It is not known how much was in the box, but the venue has said its visitors have always given generously to the fund, and expressed disappointment this year’s efforts would not reach those in need.

The thief was wearing a baseball jacket with a blue body and white sleeves and had a grey hood pulled from another top beneath.

He also wore black trousers and black trainers or shoes, and gloves, as confirmed by the marks recovered from the scene by a crime scene investigator.

If anyone recognises the intruder they are asked to contact Pc Howe or her colleague Pc Chris Milburn.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham