A MEMBER of Swadlincote’s Royal British Legion has hit out at thieves who stole two poppy tins from a shoe shop branding them ‘despicable’.
Pat Murray says money from the tins stolen from Brantanos, in The Pipeworks, would have been used to save the lives of war heroes and their families.
He said: “How despicable can people be and how low can people actually stoop to take a charity box?
“I know they are only on the counter but with this particular charity - if you walk around the whole country you see at least 99.9 per cent of people until November 11 will have a poppy, and everyone will have paid a pound.
“Whoever has done it they don’t realise the hardship they could have caused and the upset to people collecting.”
Poppies were first suggested as a symbol of Remembrance in 1918. In 1921 the British Legion adopted it and the first Poppy Appeal was born.
The first appeal raised £106,000 (nearly £30 million in today’s terms). In 1922 the “Poppy Factory” was established and employing disabled ex-servicemen to make the poppies.
Councillor Murray added: “The money is used to give assistance to wartime heroes and families of soldiers that have come into hardship - not just those who served in the first and second world wars but also Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Cyprus.
“These people defended us and put their necks on the line, they need support.
“(If they didn’t have this money) it means they get into hardship and who knows, it could cost the country even more because if you get depression, or lose your home and people can go off the rails.
“I would appeal to that person to return it. They don’t have to own up, just say they found it and bring it back.”