By Laura Payne 24/02 Updated: 01/03 10:06
A HEARTLESS thief has been jailed after admitting stealing poppy collection tins from shop counters.
Tyrone McDermott, 31, of no fixed address, was jailed for 32 weeks, eight weeks for each theft to run consecutively, at Solihull Magistrates. He was also ordered to pay the British Legion £50 in compensation.
Magistrates told McDermott that stealing from such a well respected, public supported charity left them with no option but to impose a prison sentence.
McDermott distracted a staff member at Thresher's Wine shop in Station Approach, Dorridge, on November 12 last year before swiping the collection tin and passing it to an accomplice.
Officers from Solihull Police investigated two other charity box thefts in Henley-in-Arden on December 7 at the High Street Co-Op and One Stop stores and after examining CCTV, detectives saw a man matching McDermott's description.
When quizzed by police McDermott admitted the offences plus another poppy tin theft from The Corner Shop in Stratford on November 7.
Solihull PC Paul Dempsey, said: "These are truly callous thefts, taking money donated by members of the public and intended for the families of armed service personnel who have been killed or injured in the line of duty.
"The amount of money stolen is relatively small but, as the magistrates emphasised, it is the despicable nature of knowingly depriving a much-loved charity of funds that led them to impose a jail sentence.
"Anyone else thinking that charity collection boxes are a quick-win theft can also expect to be jailed when we catch up with them."
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