Police are investigating two reports of poppy appeal tins being stolen in Eastbourne.
On Wednesday (November 5), two shops, The Range in Lottbridge Drove and The Co-op in Seaside Road, reported the thefts which occurred within one hour of each other.
The first, at The Range, occurred at about 3.15pm and involved three suspects, one man who distracted the counter staff whilst another man concealed the tin and cut the rope securing it and a woman who was stood with the group.
Witnesses describe the first man as olive skinned, 24 to 28-years-old, 5ft 9, of average build, wearing a hat, with light blue jeans and a black jacket with a hood.
The second man was described as olive skinned, 24 to 28-years-old, 5ft 8, of skinny build, wearing sky blue baggy jeans, a black bomber jacket with material sleeves and a white hooded jumper underneath. The woman was described as having darker olive skin.
The second theft, at the Co-op, occurred at 4pm and involved two men who also distracted the counter staff whilst stealing the tin. The first man has been described as mixed race, in his early 20s, of average build, tall in height, and wearing a red baseball cap with a dark puffy jacket and white hood. The second man has been described as white, in his early 30s, short in height, of slim build and wearing a black rain jacket and grey jeans.
PC Ed Faulkner of Eastbourne Neighbourhood Policing Team, said, “I’d like to firstly warn shop workers of this type of theft. Please be aware of suspicious behaviour around counters and ensure charity collection tins are in your line of sight at all times.
“Please can I also remind all Eastbourne residents to be alert to any suspicious behaviour around charity tins, especially this time of year where there are more of them on display. If you witness something suspicious call police immediately on 101 and if you think a crime is about to be committed do not hesitate to call 999.”
Anyone who witnessed the incidents or has information is asked to contact Sussex Police online at www.sussex.police.uk, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 101, quoting either 1460 of 05/11/14 for The Range theft or 1077 of 05/11/14 for the Co-op theft.
Alternatively you can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.