‘Despicable’ burglars target Sidmouth charity boxes.

Sidmouth Living With Cancer, Poppy Appeal and Devon Air Ambulance left out of pocket

‘DESPICABLE’ burglars have stolen from the terminally ill and injured war heroes by breaking into Sidmouth businesses and only taking charity boxes.

A pair of late-night burglaries in the space of a week saw criminals make off with donations kind customers had handed out to boost a trio of causes.

Offenders have been branded as “disgusting” and “desperate” after Sidmouth Living With Cancer, the Poppy Appeal and Devon Air Ambulance were left out of pocket.

Burglars forced their way in to the Willow Tree restaurant, in Church Street, in the early hours of last Saturday morning and made off with collection boxes for all three causes.

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Living with Cancer leaders learned two of its collection tins – one full of cash – had been pinched in just five days.

Thieves ignored stock at The Works, but pinched a charity box in aid of the group when the High Street shop was broken into early on Tuesday, October 25.

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“It’s hard to think people can sink so low - they must be desperate,” said Sidmouth Living with Cancer founder Bill Lankester.

“We had our minibus catalytic converter taken and now our money boxes are being stolen. Society is getting sicker.

“I don’t have any idea how much was in either box, but that doesn’t matter - it’s the principle. They are stealing from someone with cancer.

“That money helps to fund the costs of the minibus to take terminally ill people out on trips. It’s a shame for so many who have generously given us money thinking its going to someone with cancer. To take from the air ambulance and Poppy Appeal is just as bad.”

“I’m disgusted,” said Sidmouth Poppy Appeal co-ordinator Sue Pink.

“Stealing money that will go to young men and women injured while serving our country, or any charity box, is shocking.”

Caroline Cook, a supervisor at The Works, said, fortunately, the stolen charity box had just been swapped over.

“Most of our lovely customers give us their change. To steal it is disgusting and despicable,” she added.

Willow Tree owner Debra Ward condemned burglars and said: “I woke up at 5.20am, heard a noise and didn’t know what it was. Now I realise it was probably them breaking in.”

Contact police with information on 101, crime reference: KS/11/613.

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