Thief steals Hearts pub’s charity collection

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A CALLOUS crook who swiped a charity collection tin from a pub counter is being sought by police.

The thief struck shortly before noon at popular Hearts bar the Athletic Arms – nicknamed The Diggers – on Angle Park Terrace, swiping a box full with donations for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

CCTV footage shows the alleged thief as he quickly leaves the Athletic Arms. Picture: Submitted

CCTV footage shows the alleged thief as he quickly leaves the Athletic Arms. Picture: Submitted

And today fundraisers and supporters of the charity blasted the crook’s actions as “shocking” and called for him to do the right thing and return the money.

Pub owner Kevin McGhee said he had turned his back for just a matter of seconds when the heartless robber armed with a pair of scissors snipped the string attaching the tin to the bar and sprinted out the door in the direction of Gorgie.

Fortunately the bar’s CCTV cameras caught a clear image of the thief’s face.

He is described as white, 6ft tall, in his mid-20s with a slim build, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt featuring a diamond motif, jeans and 
trainers.

The man also has brown hair and sideburns which grow into a beard, and was also carrying a rucksack.

Kevin said: “He came in and used the toilets before asking me for some squash. It was then I turned to get some ice and when I turned back he was sprinting out the door.

“He must have used scissors to snip the string attaching the tin to the bar. We have five charity tins in total on the bar and he took the fullest one.

“The guy’s a scumbag, it’s the lowest of the low stealing from a charity for wee kids.”

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation, which raises funds to support the Capital’s Sick Kids hospital, is the official charity partner of the 
Edinburgh Evening News.

Corstorphine mum-of-three Gilly Herbert knows only too well how important the money raised by the Foundation is, as her daughters Sophia, five, and Annabelle, three, have both undergone minor operations at the hospital. To show her appreciation Gilly has so far raised more than £13,000 through various fundraising activities.

She said: “Every penny makes a difference, so it’s absolutely shocking that someone would do this. The money that was stolen would have been put to a great use.

“I hope that the police catch him.”

Former Hearts chairman Lord George Foulkes, a longtime supporter of the charity, said he was “appalled” at the actions of this heartless thief.

He said: “You can’t get any lower can you? Especially when you consider the uses that this money could have been put towards.

“There are a number of people and households in financial trouble at the moment but there is no excuse for this. I would hope this guy has a conscience and hands this money back and I wish the police well in their efforts to catch him.”

A spokeswoman for the charity declined to comment on an ongoing police matter.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigating following the theft of a charity tin from a pub.

“The incident happened just before 12pm on Thursday, September 26, within the Athletic Arms in Angle Park Terrace. A male within the premises exited with the tin and officers are keen to hear from anyone who can trace him.”

“Anyone with information that can help with our inquiries is asked to come forward.”

Anyone who has information about the theft should contact Police Scotland on 101, or the charity Crimestopper on 0800555111.