Dartford poppy tin thieves branded 'abhorrent'

Cash Converters' manager Matthew Murray

Cash Converters' manager Matthew Murray

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

TWO thieves who swiped the Poppy Appeal tin from a Dartford Cash Converters store have been branded "abhorrent".

Royal Legion worker Harry Smith was picking up the collections on November 21 at around 1pm when he noticed the High Street branch box was missing.

Staff checked the store's CCTV video and saw the theft had actually taken place six days before, with footage seeming to show a man and woman working together to steal the charity cash.

Mr Smith said: "I think it's abhorrent they've done this.

"This is the first tin that we've had go missing in the two years I've done this work.

"It was quite upsetting to see the person do it on film.

"My main concern is we catch the people who did it."

Store manager Matthew Murray said he was shocked by the theft.

He said: "When he came to pick up the box, the poppies were still there but the tin wasn't."

Footage from the in-store cameras showed a woman distracting one member of staff with an inquiry on the shop floor while a man who came in with her snatched the donation box, stashing it inside his jacket.

He said: "They must have been in the shops scouring for these boxes.

"They came in and knew exactly what they were going to do."

Mr Murray said the box had been in the shop for four weeks but he was unsure how much it contained.

He added: "Even if it was a small amount, it all makes a difference doesn't it."

Kent Police has released descriptions of two people they would like to speak to in connection with the alleged theft.

Officers have said they would like to speak to a woman who is described as white, roughly 25-years-old, 5ft 6in tall with light brown hair. She was wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers.

Police would also like to speak to a black man of around 25-years-old, who is 6ft tall. He wore a dark coloured duffle jacket and jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Martin Taylor on 101 quoting reference XY/35730/12.

Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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