Thief stole poppy donation box in Tranent by impersonating official collector on Remembrance Day

"I was quite shocked that someone would steal from a charity."

Friday, 15th November 2019, 11:45 am

A conman impersonating a Poppyscotland collector stole a donation box from a convenience store in Tranent on Remembrance Day.

The man claimed he had come to collect the box and gave staff at the Mini Market on Elphinstone Road a lookalike empty box to replace it with.

Shop owner Muhammad Akbar, 36, said he didn't suspect a crime until the official collector, Chairperson for Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council David Forrest, came to pick up the box two days later.

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Picture: Poppyscotland.

He told the East Lothian Courier: “Someone came in on Monday in the morning and told me that they were from Poppyscotland and they were collecting the charity box.

“We have just taken over the shop so we didn’t know who we were meant to be looking out for, so we said that it was fine and they took the box away and left the other one. It was a man in his forties.

“I was quite shocked that someone would steal from a charity."

Mr Forrest said: “For someone to steal money from Poppyscotland they have to be pretty low."

Children take part in a Remembrance event on Sunday.

He added: "It’s not about the money, it’s about the principle.”

Money raised by Poppyscotland collection boxes is used to support members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland, including in areas of employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite.