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Raiders steal £2,000 in Gloucester Poppy Appeal raid

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

'DESPICABLE':  Keith Taylor, chairman of the Gloucester City Royal British Legion, after the theft.

'DESPICABLE': Keith Taylor, chairman of the Gloucester City Royal British Legion, after the theft.

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HARD-EARNED cash collected by Poppy Appeal volunteers has been stolen by thieves from the Royal British Legion's Gloucester headquarters.

They broke in and ransacked the veterans' charity building in Commercial Road between 10.15pm on Wednesday and 8am yesterday.

More than £2,000 in coins collected during last week's Poppy Appeal were taken, along with 120 cheques and two laptops.

Access was gained through the loft and a ceiling was damaged.

Keith Taylor, 74, is chairman of the charity's Gloucester City branch and has been involved with remembrance services for 39 years.

He broke down when he realised the building had been burgled.

"This is despicable," he said. "I know times are hard, but this money was raised in the name of so many servicemen and women who have given their lives so these toerags can walk around free.

"I knew something was wrong straight away and knew we had been done.

"They got in through the roof space. They've done quite a bit of damage.

"So much sacrifice has been made and this is how they have been repaid. One of our guys spent all week on The Cross collecting cash and now that is all gone."

An escape route was made through a rear door that was kicked off its hinges.

A footprint has been left at the scene and is currently being investigated by police, along with CCTV footage.

PC Matt Williams said: "Any break-in is reprehensible but, given the fact the victim is a charity and the appeal one that so many people have in their thoughts at this time of year, it is very sad indeed."

A fire extinguisher had been let off by the raiders and drawers and cupboards turned out in the hunt for valuables.

Bill Bratty, chairman of the Hardwicke and District branch of the Royal British Legion is disgusted by the act.

"This is horrendous, completely shameful and inexcusable," he said. "I don't care how desperate people are.

"To lose that amount of money is heartbreaking for them and it makes me so angry. These people are the lowest of the low."

Anyone who can assist police should call 101 quoting incident 77 of November 15.

Alternatively information can also be given anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

In some cases Crimestoppers offer rewards of up to £1,000 where information leads to a conviction.

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  • honslknjklyt  |  November 17 2012, 12:05AM

    I don't see how it is hard earned. This is not a wage for people or for anyone else and the collectors worlk very hard. I have collected myself but this is not hard earned money, this is people's kind donations.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 16 2012, 3:10PM

    @isitjimkerr - A charity bottle often collects impulse contributions and they can ammount to a larg ammount http://tinyurl.com/643ppgf There has been no update on this story, has he been caught?

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  November 16 2012, 10:25AM

    The low-life scum that did this should of course be thrown into the stocks, and tomatoes filled with bricks, thrown at them. However, we all know this will never happen, as even if they are caught (!), some smart @r$£d lawyer will plead that it's society's fault, and that the $cr0te$ concerned are full of remorse, and are willing to pay it back at a rate of 50p per week...................from their benefits. I would also like to say that while RBL bear no responsibilty for this outrage, they should at least acknowledge that while the person(s) that did this will be of very low intelligence, they are not so thick to realise that for the last month, little red boxes have been rattled under our noses in prime locations. These boxes all end up somewhere, and it doesn't take a genius to work out where. I have to say I am truly amazed that in 2012, we are still using this type of collection process. Firstly, in shops etc, why aren't poppies bought like any other purchase, and the money goes into the till, and is banked by the shop. This would stop the boxes being stolen in store. Most shops scan barcodes, so the takings against that code could be reconciled, and a payment made from the shop to RBL, with a nice certificate to display. Secondly, the cash raised by the mobile collectors should go straight to the bank. All banks have night safe deposits, so they could be dropped in at any time. The banks should all agree to count the money for free. Perhaps TiG could set up a hotline on this occasion, with them matching pound for pound any donations phoned in.

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