Outrage as thief steals ‘heroes’ charity boxes

Neil Readman with charity boxes at the Captain Cook Inn at Staithes''w131308
Neil Readman with charity boxes at the Captain Cook Inn at Staithes''w131308

A ‘despicable’ thief has struck in Staithes, stealing vital donations given to two popular charities.

Between Last Thursday and Friday evening the Help for Heroes and Yorkshire Air Ambulance collection boxes were taken from the Captain Cook Inn on Staithes Lane.

As the donations comprised of spare change and petty cash, it is impossible to know how much was actually taken. However, at a fund-raising event in last October the pub donated £253 to the air ambulance and the box had not been emptied since then.

Landlord Neil Readman said: “I can’t tell you how I feel, they would lock me up. I’m gutted for the charities. If there were £1 coins inside there could have been about £200, you just don’t know.”

Help for Heroes provides support for servicemen and women who are injured on active duty, while the Yorkshire Air Ambulance is credited with saving hundreds of lives in the region.

Sgt John Webb, of Whitby Police said: “It’s despicable and it is very difficult to prove but hopefully we can get some inroads to try and stop this happening again.”

Five collection boxes for a variety of charities had sat beside the bar, with the thief only taking the two with the most money inside.

Mr Readman said a customer spotted the boxes had been taken on Friday evening.

Following the theft, the three other charity boxes have now been hidden away in case the thieves return. Unfortunately, this will have an affect on the amount of money the inn is able to gather for those causes.

Mr Readman added: “I hope they sped off in the car and crashed but the air ambulance couldn’t come rescue them because they stole the funds.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “This is a disgraceful theft. Whoever stole the charity boxes should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

“The thieves have taken vital funds from those who have given their service to defend the country and those who need emergency medical treatment.

“If you can help to identify the criminals responsible for this theft, please contact the police or Crimestoppers immediately.”

Anyone who can help with this investigation is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for PC 475 Darren Mortimer.

Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.